United Nations: Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid was on Monday elected as President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, garnering 143 votes out of the 191 ballots cast. The 193-member General Assembly voted on Monday to elect the President, who will preside over the 76th session of the UN body that will commence in September.
In the fray for the election was Shahid as well as former foreign minister of Afghanistan Dr Zalmai Rassoul, who got 48 votes. “Hearty congratulations to Maldives Foreign Minister @abdulla_shahid for the robust victory and for being elected as the 76th President of the UN General Assembly,” India’s Permanent Mission to the UN tweeted.
India had already voiced its strong support for Shahid’s candidature for President of the 76th session of the UNGA, saying he is best equipped to preside over the General Assembly of 193 nations of the world.
In an interview to WION in April, Maldives FM appreciated India’s backing. He told WION, “Maldives candidature and the support of the Indian government for the Maldives candidature is very much appreciated and it is a great honour for the country.”.
In his vision statement titled “A Presidency of Hope: Delivering for People, Planet and Prosperity”, FM Shahid listed 5 priority themes—called “Five Rays of Hope”. These key areas are –Recovering from COVID, rebuilding sustainably, responding to the needs of the planet, respecting the rights of all, revitalizing the United Nations.
He said, in the vision statement, In the visions statement, he called on, “efforts to make the United Nations efficient, effective and accountable” with aim to “continue, together with efforts to reform the Security Council, revitalise the General Assembly, and strengthen the Economic and Social Council.”
Highlighting, “As a Maldivian, it is in my ethos to persevere—to both hope and work for a better tomorrow. Hope lets us stand up, dust ourselves off, and once again, work on rebuilding this world. Hope is what can bring us together.”
The Maldives FM began his career in 1983 as foreign service officer and has played prominent roles at the international stage as well as domestically in his country.
In accordance with the established regional rotation, the President of the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly is to be elected from the Group of Asia-Pacific States. The other candidate for the UNGA President’s post was Afghanistan’s Dr Zalmai Rassoul. He has been the former Foreign minister of Afghanistan and had initiated and led the launch of Heart of Asia Istanbul process in 2011 and expanded his country’s engagement in regional platforms like Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
According to the established rules of regional rotation, the President of the 76th session of the General Assembly was to be elected from the Group of Asia-Pacific States. Shahid will succeed Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir who was UNGA President for the 75th session that came amid the unprecedented COVID19 pandemic. The President of the General Assembly is elected every year by a secret ballot and requires a simple majority vote of the General Assembly.