|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
113th & 114th Meetings (AM & PM)
General Assembly Elects Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic President
of Sixty-Seventh Session; Also Names 20 Vice-Presidents
In Rare Secret Ballot, Receives 99 Votes to 85 for Dalius Cekuolis of Lithuania;
New President Hopes Next Session ‘Will Go Down in History as an Assembly of Peace’
The General Assembly this morning elected Vuk Jeremić, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, as President of its sixty-seventh session, voting by secret ballot for the first time in more than 20 years.
Mr. Jeremić defeated Dalius Čekuolis, Lithuanian Ambassador to the United Nations, by a vote of 99 to 85. The selection of the Assembly President traditionally follows the system of geographical rotation, with respective regional groups, in this case Eastern European States, putting forward a consensus candidate each year. If a group cannot reach consensus on a single nominee, the door is open for a rare secret-ballot vote. The last time it occurred was in 1991, when the Group of Asian States nominated three candidates.
The Assembly postponed the election of the Chairs and other Bureau members of the Assembly’s six Main Committees to allow more time for consultations. Since the postponement would not have any impact on the geographical representation of the Vice-Presidents of the Assembly plenary, the Assembly proceeded to elect 20 of the 21 seats for the Vice-Presidency.
Following his election, Mr. Jeremić said his country was a small, developing country that belonged to no military alliance or political union. “It is therefore truly humbling to have received the confidence of so many nations from all over the world to preside over the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations,” he said.
Like most other nations, Serbia had travelled through periods of tragedy and periods of glory, he said. At the end of the 20th century, one of the proud victors over fascism and a founding member of the United Nations had descended into ferocious internal strife. The ensuring devastation and fratricide had left deep wounds in their wake. In the past few years, Serbia had reached out to its neighbours, offering a hand of friendship and reconciliation. The nation also had reached out to all other members of the global community, including those with which it had had bitter disagreements. A painful era had now come to an end. Today, our nation could proudly stand before the world again – less than two decades after having had been left out of this chamber.
The incoming President said Serbia was a democracy that -- apart from working to ensure its own sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the well-being of its citizens -- had no ambition other than to advance the common interest of mankind, promising to remain steadfastly committed to the maintenance of international peace and security – the first stated purpose of the United Nations.
He proposed the theme for the high-level debate at the opening of the sixty-seventh session: “Bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means”.
“Let’s not forget that peace is not merely the absence of war,” he stressed, pledging to fulfil his duty as President by exercising his authority in a forthright and even-handed manner, with the utmost respect for the equal rights and dignity of each Member State.
Joint endeavours should help bring mankind closer to the day when it shall have assuaged its hurts and abolished its fears – and in so doing, further the aspirations of the people of the United Nations to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, he said, expressing hope that “the next Assembly go down in history as an Assembly of peace”.
Congratulating Mr. Jeremić, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser ( Qatar), current Assembly President, thanked both candidates, noting the “strong candidature” of Ambassador Dalius Čekuolis ( Lithuania) and wishing him all the best. He applauded Mr. Jeremić on his election and hailed his extensive experience in multilateralism and multinational affairs. He had no doubt that the new Assembly President would lead the Members States of “this preeminent world body” in a truly capable manner.
Pledging the support of his Office and team during the transition period, Mr. Al-Nasser said that there was still much work to be done between now and the opening of the next session of the Assembly in September, and he planned to continue working assiduously to make the 193-member body stronger.
Also taking the floor to congratulate the President-elect on behalf of their respective regional groups were the representatives of Benin (African States), Vanuatu (Asia-Pacific States), Belarus (Eastern European States), Honduras (Latin American and Caribbean States) and Turkey (Western European and other States).
In other business, the Secretary-General drew lots, in accordance with tradition, to determine which Member State would occupy the first seat in the General Assembly Hall during the next session. Jamaica was picked to occupy that seat and would be followed in English alphabetical order by all other countries, with the same order observed in the Main Committees.
Number of ballot papers
Number of invalid ballots
Number of valid ballots
Number of members voting
Number of votes obtained
Vuk Jeremić ( Serbia)
Dalius Čekuolis ( Lithuania)
Election of Vice-Presidents
The Vice-Presidents for the sixty-seventh session will be: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, China, Congo, France, Ghana, Honduras, Israel, Lebanon, Nepal, Netherlands, Palau, Peru, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom, the United States.
The President informed delegates that the election of an additional vice president from among the African States would take place at a later date.
The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.
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For information media • not an official record