UN elects Fiji ambassador to top General Assembly post

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The United Nations General Assembly — in a rare contested election — has elected Fiji's U.N. Ambassador as president of its 71th anniversary session beginning in September.

Ambassador Peter Thomson was one of two nominees for the post along with Cyprus' Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andreas Mavroyiannis. He won in a close 94 to 90 vote.

Current assembly President Mogens Lykketoft announced the winner of the secret-ballot election Monday as diplomats from the U.N.'s 193 member states burst into applause.

The UNGA presidency rotates annually between five geographic areas and this year it's the turn for an Asian-Pacific representative to head Assembly meetings, of which both Cyprus and Fiji are members.