UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Brazil is building up a concerted international campaign to secure a permanent Security Council seat after its overwhelming win for a temporary two-year stint on the U.N. body Thursday.
Brazil, a founding member of the U.N., was among the five new council members chosen in the vote alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria. Each will serve two-year terms on the 15-member body starting January 2010.
The five countries will join Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda, whose terms on the council end on Dec. 31, 2010.
Brazil was chosen for the Latin American and Caribbean category after being awarded 182 votes. There were seven abstentions and one vote for Venezuela. Brazil served earlier on the council on nine other occasions: 1946-47, 1951-52, 1954-55, 1963-64, 1967-68, 1988-89, 1993-94, 1998-99 and 2004-05.
The five were chosen after running uncontested races for the non-permanent seats, and were elected by the General Assembly in a secret ballot.
Brazil's win gave its diplomats a new impetus to build up their campaign for U.N. reform to widen Security Council membership to include regional powers. The five permanent members are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
Brazilian President Luiz Inaco Lula da Silva has frequently hinted at Brazil's pre-eminence in Latin America and has launched economic programs, including aid for neighbors, and a military regeneration strategy to revive Brazil's role as a major arms manufacturer and exporter.
This month Brazil also became a creditor to the International Monetary Fund when it bought $10 billion of IMF Special Drawing Rights, the basket of world currencies used as a reserve hedge against currency fluctuation.
But the vote also indicated some skepticism about Brazil's role in Latin America. Mexico was elected unopposed in 2008 but, in 2006 Guatemala and Venezuela battled it out, resulting in voting 48 times. The contest was finally settled with the nomination of Panama as a consensus candidate that year.
Lula has been campaigning among permanent council members and won support from France when President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Rio de Janeiro to seal contracts for French military sales to Brazil.
He said Brazil had a vital role to play in global decision-making. "I'm being honest when I say we need Brazil in world governance," he said. "I think we need Brazil as a permanent member of the Security Council."
Lula has made obtaining a permanent council seat for Brazil one his major foreign policy goals but also wants a greater say in international financial affairs.
Lula joined Sarkozy in calling for governments to take a greater role in regulating financial markets and in creating jobs, and blamed the United States for the financial crisis.