The 1981 United Nations Security Council election was held on 15 October 1981 during the Thirty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The General Assembly elected Guyana, Jordan, Poland, Togo, and Zaire (now D.R. Congo), as the five new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for two-year mandates commencing on 1 January 1982. Togo and Zaire were elected for the first time.
5 (of 10) non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council
The Security Council has 15 seats, filled by five permanent members and ten non-permanent members. Each year, half of the non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms. A sitting member may not immediately run for re-election.
In accordance with the rules whereby the ten non-permanent UNSC seats rotate among the various regional blocs into which UN member states traditionally divide themselves for voting and representation purposes, the five available seats are allocated as follows:
- Two for African countries (held by Niger and Tunisia)
- One for the Asian Group (now the Asia-Pacific Group), for the "Arab Swing Seat" (held by the Philippines)
- One for Latin America and the Caribbean (held by Mexico)
- One for the Eastern European Group (held by East Germany)
To be elected, a candidate must receive a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. If the vote is inconclusive after the first round, three rounds of restricted voting shall take place, followed by three rounds of unrestricted voting, and so on, until a result has been obtained. In restricted voting, only official candidates may be voted on, while in unrestricted voting, any member of the given regional group, with the exception of current Council members, may be voted on.
Voting was conducted on a single ballot. Ballots containing more states from a certain region than seats allocated to that region were invalidated.
- United Nations Security Council (2008), Repertoire of the practice of the Security Council, p. 178
- Conforti, Benedetto (2005), The law and practice of the United Nations, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, p. 61
- Charter of the United Nations, Article 23
- Resolution 1991 A (XVIII), dated 1963-12-17, in force 1965-08-31.
- "Asian group of nations at UN changes its name to Asia-Pacific group", Radio New Zealand International, 2011-08-31.
- U.N. General Assembly, 36th session. Provisional Verbatim Record of the Thirty-Eight Meeting Held at Headquarters, New York, On Thursday, 15 October 1981. (A/36/PV.35) 15 October 1981
- UN Document A/59/881 Note Verbale from the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica containing a record of Security Council elections up to 2004