This article contributes with a novel systematic theoretical and empirical exploration of why states find a nonpermanent seat in the UN Security Council attractive. Three conceptualizations of power—to influence, to network, and to gain status—guide the empirical analysis. A telephone interview survey with diplomatic staff at Member States’ permanent missions to the United Nations in New York provides readers with original and unique empirical knowledge of state perceptions of power. The candidature for a seat comes with expectations of influencing decision-making, despite modest estimations of the opportunity to have impact. Opportunities to network and to gain status are not frequent reasons for a candidature. Diplomats’ estimations are nevertheless higher on the opportunity to actually establish relevant relationships and to gain status brought by a seat.
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