Peter Thomson of Fiji has been elected president of the next session of the UN General Assembly in New York, which will choose successor to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
In a keenly contested election, he got 94 votes, helping him to narrowly defeat Andreas Mavroyiannis of Cyprus who got 90.
Under the system of rotation, it is the Asia-Pacific region's turn to hold the post and usually one candidate is proposed by the group whose turn it is. This time the absence of a consensus sent election to a ballot by the 193-member General Assembly.
Thomson will supervise the election of the next Secretary General by the General Assembly in a process that will have a measure of transparency for the first time.
If the Security Council reform process does not pass the present session that ends in September, Thomson could play a key role in reviving it under his watch.
Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has declared that his country "is strongly supporting" India's bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council.
After his election, Thomson told the General Assembly that his priorities will be the promotion of UN Sustainable Development Goals to boost human welfare and climate change given that his island nation is particularly susceptible to rising sea levels from global warming. "We bring special perspectives on climate change and on oceans issues," he said. "You can expect me to be vocal on these issues."