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103rd Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 70th Session
13 Jun 2016 -  By secret ballot, the General Assembly today elected by a margin of four votes Peter Thomson of Fiji as President of its seventy-first session, also selecting, in consecutive meetings, Bureaux members of its six Main Committees. Mr. Thomson defeated Andreas Mavroyiannis of Cyprus, by a vote of 94 to 90, with 1 abstention. The selection of the Assembly President traditionally follows the system of geographical rotation, with respective regional groups, in this case Asia-Pacific 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 2012, when the Eastern European States nominated two candidates. Following his election, Mr. Thomson thanked Mr. Mavroyiannis for a fair contest. He went on to observe that his election represented the first time that a representative of a Pacific small island developing State would take over the Assembly presidency. Those States brought a special perspective on climate change in particular and he would be vocal on that issue during his term. However, the universal “high purpose” of the seventy-first session would be momentum on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving progress on all 17 Goals, he said. That would require transforming systems and overcoming intellectual barriers, and without its implementation, the future would be in jeopardy. He pledged to serve the Assembly and the United Nations in the spirit of fidelity and commitment to the common good, in accord with the purposes and principles of the Charter. Extending his congratulations, Mogens Lykketoft (Denmark), President of the seventieth session, noted that Mr. Thomson brought extensive experience working in matters of rural development and had also engaged with international affairs for many years. He expressed his support for Mr. Thomson’s preparations to assume the presidency on 13 September. Until that date, much work remained to be done during the seventieth session’s final three months, including preparing for the high-level event on large movement of refugees and migrants in September, the Assembly’s revitalization, and further informal dialogues with candidates for the position of Secretary-General, as necessary. He was determined to leave behind a strong Assembly that all States and people could look up to and depend upon, making it more transparent, inclusive and effective. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended Mr. Lykketoft for his many important initiatives, including the adoption of the recent action-oriented Political Declaration on ending AIDS, his convening of thematic debates on pressing global challenges and his travel to crisis frontlines. Mr. Ban went on to congratulate Mr. Thomson, noting his broad perspective and years of international experience both in Government and the private sector. As Permanent Representative, Mr. Thomson had served as Chairman of the Group of 77 and China and gained extensive knowledge of the United Nations development system as Chair of the executive boards of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). He had also served as Vice-President of the Assembly from 2010 to 2011. Moreover, Mr. Thomson brought the valuable perspective of small island developing States and was a staunch advocate of sustainable development and addressing climate change. Also congratulating the President-elect on behalf of regional groups were the representatives of Japan (Asia Pacific States), Bulgaria (Eastern European States), Zambia (African States), Barbados (Latin American and Caribbean States) and Norway (Western European and other States), as well as a representative of the United States, on behalf of the host country. The Secretary-General, in accordance with tradition, then drew lots to determine which delegation would occupy the first seat in the General Assembly Hall during the next session. Bolivia was picked and would be followed in English alphabetical order by all other countries, with the same order observed in the Main Committees. The General Assembly also elected by secret ballot 21 Vice-Presidents of its plenary: Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Mauritania, Nigeria and Zambia from the African States; Bangladesh, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Turkmenistan from the Asia-Pacific States; Armenia from the Eastern European States; Bahamas, Belize and El Salvador from the Latin American and Caribbean States; and Belgium and Germany from the Western European and other States. The five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States) serve as Vice-Presidents, as well. Also today, the five of the Assembly’s six Main Committees, in consecutive meetings, elected their chairpersons and members of their respective B
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