Estonia has gained a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2020-2021, following a vote at the international body's headquarters in New York.
The announcement came shortly before 7 p.m. local time, somewhat earlier than anticipated, after a second secret ballot gave the seat to Estonia, with four other nations earlier picking up seats as well. Estonia was up against Romania from the Eastern Europe group of nations, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
The first round ballot was inconclusive as, while Estonia gained 111 members' votes against Romania's 78, this did not meet the required two thirds total (i.e. 129 votes). There were also two abstentions, and Latvia and Georgia received one vote apiece.
In a rare full 193-member state turnout, the second ballot saw Estonia getting 132 votes and thus clinch the seat over Romania's 58 votes (one vote was discounted and there were a further two abstentions).
Vietnam, Tunisia and Niger had already been elected in the first round, with 190 votes, joined by St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which received 181 votes.
The five new non-permanent members were selected from four regional groups: Two from Africa, one from Asia-Oceania, one from Latin America and one from the Eastern European group.
The UN Security Council is one of six main UN bodies, charged with ensuring international peace and security, among other roles. It comprises five permanent seats – China, Russia, France, the U.K. and the U.S., and 10 non-permanent members, apportioned regionally and rotating every two years, but staggered – hence only five new non-permanent members were chosen at Friday's vote.
The original decision to apply was made back in 2005, a year after Estonia joined NATO and the EU, with the later phase of the campaign starting in 2017.
Both President Kersti Kaljulaid and foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) were in New York for the vote.
Estonia takes up the two-year post on January 1 2020.
Editor: Andrew Whyte