Malta’s election to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in New York was uncontested and there were no other countries vying for the island’s seat on last Thursday’s ballot sheet, The Shift is informed.
UN sources told The Shift that while Malta’s ‘election’ is still an important political development for a small country in its participation in the world’s stage, “things must still be kept in perspective and reported correctly”.
“It is a positive development that after 40 years Malta is once again participating in the Security Council. However, the government’s hype, exacerbated by the mainstream independent media as some vote of confidence is an insult to the public’s intelligence,” a senior diplomat told The Shift.
Following the ‘election’ of Malta and four other countries to the 15-member Security Council for the next two years, both Prime Minister Robert Abela and Foreign Minister Ian Borg boasted about how Malta got “a strong mandate” from the rest of the UN members.
However, last Thursday’s election was a mere formality as no other country contested Malta for the seat.
With the seats’ availability subdivided according to regions, only Malta and Switzerland ran for the two vacant seats available for Western Europe.
According to UN rules, voting members do not have the option to vote ‘no’ in the secret ballot, but only to abstain.
However, Minister Ian Borg emphasised that Malta was elected by a 97.3% margin of the vote. Tweeting immediately after the results were out, Prime Minister Abela dubbed Malta’s result “a strong mandate”.
Malta obtained 185 votes out of the 193 members. It is not known which countries abstained from endorsing Malta.
Apart from Malta and Switzerland, the UN also endorsed the candidature of Japan, Ecuador and Mozambique.
The 15-member UN security council consists of 15 members, with five permanent seats (US, Russia, China, France and the UK) while the remainder rotate every two years.
The permanent members enjoy a veto, meaning that all major decisions are taken by them.