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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 08 June, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid is the President of UNGA for 2021-22

Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid is the President of UNGA for 2021-22

  • In a first for the Maldives, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid was elected the President of the UN General Assembly for 2021-22, winning 143 votes or nearly three-fourths of the 191 countries that voted in the annual election, while his rival, former Afghanistan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, won 48.
  • Mr. Shahid’s win was welcomed in particular in New Delhi, where Indian diplomats had been active behind the scenes in helping the Maldives canvass for him, after Maldives announced its candidate for the 76th General Assembly Presidency a year ago.
  • Sources confirmed that given the close cooperation between both countries, Maldives is in discussions with the Indian mission for India’s deputy Permanent Representative at the UN Nagaraj Naidu to officiate as Mr. Shahid’s Chef de Cabinet.
  • Maldives President Ibrahim Solih called the election win “resounding” and a “great honour for the Maldives”, while former President and Maldives speaker Mohammad Nasheed said it was a “great day” for small island states and for “climate vulnerable countries everywhere”.
  • India had made it clear to Afghanistan’s government that it would be unable to support Mr. Rassoul as it had declared its support for Maldives publicly in November, long before Afghanistan announced its candidature in January this year.
  • The announcement had caused an awkward tussle within the Asia Pacific group, whose turn it is to take the Presidency of the General Assembly, and especially for India, which has close ties with both countries.
  • Both Maldives and Afghanistan have excellent ties with India and both candidates are friends of India. However, since India had already committed its support to Maldives at a time when no other candidate was in the fray, India voted in favour of Maldives.

About United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

  • The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

  • All 193 Member States of the UN are represented in the General Assembly, making it the only UN body with universal representation.
  • The President of the General Assembly is elected each year by assembly to serve a one-year term of office.
  • The presidency rotates annually between the five geographic groups: African, Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European and other States.
  • Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.
  • Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.
  • The Assembly has no binding votes or veto powers like the UN Security Council.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:

  • Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States.
  • Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General.
  • Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament.
  • Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it.

Source: TH


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