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Maldives' foreign minister Abdulla Shahid elected president of UN General Assembly

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New York, June 07: 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.

Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid

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.

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 COVID-19 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.

The Presidency of the General Assembly rotates among the five regional groups - the Group of Asian States, the Group of Eastern European States, the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Group of African States, the Western European and other States Group.

Traditionally, a regional group agrees on one candidate and presents his or her candidature for election as President of the General Assembly, paving the way for election by acclamation.

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.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in his remarks at a joint press conference with his Maldivian counterpart in Male in February this year, had praised his vast diplomatic experience and leadership qualities.

"In this context, I reiterate today India's strong support to the candidature of Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid for President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly next year.

"Foreign Minister Shahid, with his vast diplomatic experience and his leadership qualities is, in our view, the best equipped to preside over the General Assembly of 193 nations of the world. We will work together to make this a reality. We would really like to work with you during our membership of the United Nations Security Council for 2021-22," Jaishankar had said.

India, currently serving the 2021-22 term as non-permanent member of the powerful UN Security Council, will assume the Presidency of the 15-nation UN organ in August.

In November last year, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, on a visit to Male, had said that the Maldives should play a more prominent role in the United Nations and had reiterated India's support to Shahid's candidature for the presidency of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

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