Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Vote Canada: Now More Than Ever

Canada puts forward an interesting idea on Security Council reform:
Canada tabled a proposal Tuesday to create 20 temporary spots for elected members, in addition to the five permanent ones established after the Second World War. Holding elections would make the world organization more accountable and democratic, Canada's UN ambassador argued.

Rock said "permanence is the polar opposite of accountability." Instead, he proposed creating 20 regionally based memberships and allowing countries in each region - Africa, for instance - to regularly elect their representatives.

I doubt this proposal will get very far; the emerging powers won't want to lose the possibility of a permanent seat, the current SC members won't want to risk an organized and hostile majority on the Council, and smaller countries probably won't see it as the most desirable possible reform based on the obvious risk that their anticipated voting bloc wouldn't win out.

But I'd be very curious to see how such a system would work if implemented. Presumably one of two things would happen: either the current regional powers (India, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Nigeria, etc.) would strong-arm their way to effectively permanent seats; or, the regional powers would consider that to be less than the best possible use of their international capital, leaving softer powers (likely including Canada) to fill the spots.

Either way, this would be the most interesting election process on the face of the planet. For that reason alone, the proposal is worth a look.

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