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European Parliament. Four candidates to the roost. Three women, one favorite

(B2) The stage is set for the renewal of the presidency of the European Parliament. This institutional mid-term meeting is nonetheless highly political.

  • MEPs decide on Tuesday (January 18), by a vote in plenary.
  • The election takes place by absolute majority of valid votes, ie 50% of the votes plus one, by secret ballot, until the third round if necessary. If a fourth round is necessary, only the two candidates with the most votes will participate. Whoever receives the most votes will win.
  • The election of the 14 vice-presidents and 5 quaestors will follow. From Monday 24 January, it will be the turn of the parliamentary committees and delegations to renew their president and vice-presidents.
Roberta Metsola - EPP

The favorite, Roberta Metsola

In the corridors of Parliament in Brussels, there is no longer any doubt. It is a woman who will be elected at the head of the European institution for the second part of the mandate (2019-2024). Of the four candidates submitted on Friday (January 14), three are women. Among them, that of the center-right group of the EPP, the largest group (in number of MEPs): Roberta Metsola. She has been campaigning for several weeks. It is the favorite, a political agreement between the majority groups wanting that the presidency at mid-term allows to alternate the political color. In this case, therefore moving from the left (S&D) since 2019 with David Maria Sassoli, to the right (EPP) for the second part of the mandate (2022-2024).

A female candidate but not feminist enough?

His name is still far from unanimous. His hearings by the various groups were not enough to erase the reluctance linked to his anti-abortion positions. " It is true that it would be an honor to have a woman as President of the European Parliament. But that is not enough », slipped the Portuguese Margarida Marques (S&D). " Roberta Metsola's position on women's rights does not reassure us. She voted against abortion and rejected any legislation on women's sexual and reproductive health ».

The political agreement still in negotiation

The leader of the Social Democrats, Iratxe Garcia Perez, repeated it on Friday morning: “ Having heard from the candidates this week, we remain determined to build a pro-European majority that will allow Parliament to function with responsibility and stability, but our group needs to be properly represented in the house. We are also always seeking assurance that the next President of Parliament will promote an agenda in line with our priorities and our values. For the moment, nothing is decided. »

The choice of no choice? Unless... 

The Social Democrats of S&D and the centrist Liberals of Renew did not present a candidate. Lack of obvious personality for the first. In compliance with the commitments made at the start of his term of office for the second, namely a political alternation agreement at mid-term. But the possibility of a last-minute candidacy hovered on Friday as an insistent rumor from the side of the S&D - knowing that candidacies can still be submitted until Monday 17 p.m. Nothing tangible though. This hypothesis, on the other hand, testified to the feverishness and tension around this famous political agreement sought between the three "big ones" (EPP, S&D and Renew). Still in negotiation.

Alice Bah Kuhnke - Greens

The surprise candidacy of the Greens

The group of Greens/EFA ecologists has decided to " Spice up » the ballot by proposing a candidate at the last moment (Carnet du 13.01.22). The decision was taken on Tuesday evening (January 11) in a group meeting.

« Building a more feminist, sustainable and democratic European Parliament ". This is the catchphrase of the one who was chosen for this mission, Alice Bah Kuhnke. The Swede, vice-president of the group, is a member in particular of the LIBE commission (public freedoms) where Roberta Metsola also sits. His voice is said to be calm, like deceased President David Sassoli “Slips a knowledgeable source.

The nationalist right has lost its battle


The desire to build a 'super' parliamentary group born from the break-up of the current groups (ID, ECR and non-registered) has not succeeded in seeing the light of day (Carnet du 7.12.21). The ID and ECR groups remain separate. Canceling any ambition for the ID group to claim representation within the presidency of Parliament by opposing the number to the rule which has prevailed until then between the three 'big', namely the exclusion of the extreme right from posts to responsibility. This remains one of the conditions for the alliance, recalled by Renew. Because " lNationalists, who despise our common values, have no place in this system ". Only the conservatives (ECR) present a candidate. Poland's Kosma Zlotowski takes on the role.

Sira Rego - GUE

The third woman from the left

The Spaniard Sira Rego is the candidate of the radical left (GUE). As she had done in 2019 at the start of the mandate. Nomination " resolutely feminist “, puts forward the French Manon Aubry, co-president of the group, as if to confront the anti-abortion positions of Roberta Metsola.

A very political election

The death of the outgoing S&D president, the Italian David Maria Sassoli, has certainly stifled the contests of a bereaved and pained return to parliament. The election is no less political. The outcome will say whether the European Parliament can count on a strong political line for the end of the mandate, depending on a political agreement between the three groups, or whether the political alliances will have to be recomposed. The challenge for the European institution, the only one elected directly by the citizens, is no less. It is about its political influence vis-à-vis the European Council and the European Commission...

(Emmanuelle Stoesser)

Emmanuelle Stroesser

A journalist for magazines and the press, Emmanuelle specializes in humanitarian issues, development, asylum and migration and human rights.