Germany wins UN Security Council seat

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Indy Politics

Germany won a seat on the UN Security Council in a heated three-way race, and Portugal claimed the second seat for Western bloc nations on the UN's most powerful body.

African, Asian and Latin American seats were uncontested so India, South Africa and Colombia easily won on the first ballot in the 192-member General Assembly.

Ten of the Security Council's 15 seats are filled by regional groups for two-year stretches, with five elected each year. The other five seats are occupied by the council's veto-wielding permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The five new non-permanent members will replace Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda, whose terms end on 31 December.

Germany's victory puts Europe's major economic power and the world's fourth largest economic power on the council. "By any standards, the council in 2011 could be the strongest group of UN and global stakeholders ever assembled on the council," said Security Council Report, a non-profit organisation that tracks the UN body's activities.

Earlier, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said that Germany, if elected, will first "want to use this seat to increase our influence on the reform of the UN... by working constructively and in a creative way with the president of the General Assembly, who's obviously primarily in charge of it."