UNITED NATIONS - Libya won a seat on the powerful UN Security Council yesterday.
Libya was virtually assured of election because it has been endorsed by the African group along with Burkina Faso and faced no opposition. Vietnam, which was endorsed by the Asian group, also ran unopposed. All three countries won in the first round of voting.
Costa Rica and Croatia won seats from Latin America and Eastern Europe. The Dominican Republic and the Czech Republic dropped out of the races for those two seats after they trailed in a second round of voting.
Susan Cohen, of Cape May Court House, N.J., who lost her 20-year-old daughter, Theodora, in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, said the United States should oppose Libya's candidacy for a seat because Libyan leader Moamar Khadafy was responsible for the attack.
"I feel that the US has totally lost its moral compass," she said. "Khadafy blew up an American plane."
In 2000 the United States blocked Sudan's bid for a council seat, and Washington's candidate, Mauritius, won. But in 2005, the US backed Nicaragua and Peru won. This year, Washington did not back a candidate against Libya.
General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim announced after the first round of balloting that Burkina Faso received 185 votes, Vietnam 183 votes and Libya 178 votes. He then declared them elected as diplomats from the 192 UN member states burst into applause.
The five new nonpermanent members of the council to serve two-year terms. In the secret ballot, candidates must get a two-thirds majority of members voting to win.
Last year's election saw the third-longest battle in UN history for a seat on the council.
It ended with victory for Panama on the 48th ballot after US-backed Guatemala and leftist Venezuela led by anti-American President Hugo Chavez withdrew to end the deadlock for a Latin American seat.
Ten of the council's 15 seats are filled by the regional groups for two-year stretches. The other five are occupied by permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States.
The five countries elected to the council will take their seats on Jan. 1, 2008.