World court Judge Dalveer Bhandari’s re-election bid hung in the balance after he could not clear five rounds of balloting in the General Assembly and the Security Council and another vote was set for Monday. In an unusual development Bhandari was locked in a run-off with fellow judge, Christopher Greenwood of Britain on Thursday. The two could not get the required absolute majorities in both the Council and the Assembly where elections were held simultaneously. Four others — incumbent judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Ronny Abraham of France, Vice President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia, Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil, and Lebanese diplomat Nawaf Salam — were elected after four rounds of voting when they finally got absolute majorities in both chambers. Candidates have to get absolute majorities in both Council and the Assembly to get elected. In the fifth round, which was a run-off, Bhandari got an absolute majority in the Assembly with 115 votes to Greenwood’s 76, but the British judge was ahead in the Council.
Traditionally judges from each of the five permanent members of the Security Council are elected, but this time in a blow to Britain’s prestige its candidate was left struggling against a non-permanent member. It was also a set back for India. The election started out looking like a contest between Bhandari and Salam for a seat traditionally held by an Asian country and Salam made it.
Salam was able to mount a tough challenge because his candidacy was endorsed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation at its foreign ministers’ meeting Tashkent in 2016 and he has been at the UN for a decade as Lebanon’s permanent representative cultivating contacts.