Bangladesh has been elected unanimously as the vice-president of the upcoming 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly to be convened in September, officials said. Earlier, the candidature of Bangladesh for the position of Vice President of 71 session of UNGA was endorsed by the Asia-Pacific Group, according to a report by state-run news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha. Fifteen other countries from different regions have also been elected the vice presidents of the general assembly. As per rules, all the P-5 countries of United Nations Security Council are also the vice presidents of the UNGA session. The term will begin in September at the commencement of the 71st General Assembly session. The UNGA also elected Peter Thomson, the Permanent Representative of Fiji, as the president of its upcoming 71st session. Thomson will replace current UNGA President Mogens Lykketoft from Denmark. New UNGA President The ambassador of the tiny Pacific Island nation of Fiji on Monday won a rare election for the post of president of the United Nations General Assembly, a position that has been the focus of a corruption scandal in the United States. Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji narrowly defeated Andreas Mavroyiannis of Cyprus with 94 votes compared to Mavroyiannis’ 90 votes. The post is a largely ceremonial one, though it has a high profile and important procedural functions. Normally a single candidate for assembly president is elected by consensus without a vote. Speaking to reporters after the election, Thomson pledged to keep pushing for more transparency in the office of the assembly president after his predecessor from 2013 to 2014 was accused by U.S. authorities of taking US$1.3 million in bribes from Chinese businessmen. Thomson will oversee the process of searching for a new U.N. secretary-general to replace Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who will finish his second five-year term in the post at the end of 2016. The president of the 193-nation General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark, has attempted to make the process of electing a UN chief more transparent by organising town hall-style meetings with candidates for the job. The secretary-general is nominated by the 15-nation Security Council and confirmed by the General Assembly. It has traditionally been a secretive process with few chances for countries outside the Security Council to get much information about the candidates. Ash, the former UN ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda, is one of seven individuals charged since October in connection with the bribery scheme and is in plea talks, according to a court filing last month. Earlier this year a U.N. task force recommended new ethical rules and financial disclosures for the General Assembly presidency’s office in the wake of the bribery allegations. Thomson also said climate change would be a priority for him as it is for all small island states, which must confront the risk of rising sea levels due to global warming. Congratulating Thomson on his new role, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that the President-elect brings a broad perspective to his new post, having years of experience in the international arena, both working for the Government of Fiji and in the private sector. I am confident that he will seek the views of others to forge consensus. As the new President-elect once said, Progress at the United Nations does not emanate from adversarial corners, but from cooperation by those who meet in the middle, Ban said. The Secretary-General noted that during Thomson’s posting as Permanent Representative, he made his mark as Chairman of the Group of 77 and China, according to the United Nations statement.
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