Italy, Netherlands agree to share U.N.S.C. seat

Jun 29, 2016, 4:35 AM EDT
(Source: The Official CTBTO Photostream/flickr)
(Source: The Official CTBTO Photostream/flickr)

A tied contest after five rounds of voting for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council prompted Italy and the Netherlands to agree on sharing the two-year term. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni called the proposal of a shared seat a “symbolic” move as it sent out a message of unity between the two European countries.

Italy and the Netherlands were locked in a tie, with each receiving 95 votes at the 193-member U.N. General Assembly. A two-thirds majority is required to win the non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

A European diplomat said that the two countries will now enter an agreement, allowing one to achieve a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly vote, with an understanding that the seat would be handed over to the other after one year, writes Al Jazeera.

In earlier voting, Kazakhstan and Sweden easily won their elections to become non-permanent members of Security Council while Bolivia and Ethiopia were elected unopposed.

The “split-seat” compromise, which is a rarity today, wasn’t unusual in the 1960s, before the Security Council expanded its non-permanent seats from six to 10, notes Bloomberg. Last such agreement was made between Czechoslovakia and Malaysia, with the two countries holding the coveted membership in 1964 and 1965, respectively.