LIVE: Roberta Metsola’s Big Day as EP votes for new President

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Members of the European Parliament today will pick a successor to European Parliament president David Sassoli, who died a week earlier after suffering complications related to his immune system.

The election’s main contender, backed by the centre-right EPP group and subject to an agreement with the socialists who have not put up their own candidate, is Maltese Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola, elected first vice president in November 2020.

If elected during the remote vote on Tuesday, Metsola would become the third woman to hold the post, after Simone Veil and Nicole Fontaine.

Other candidates include Alice Bah Kuhnke for the Greens/EFA, Kosma Zlotowski for the ECR and Sira Rego for The Left.

While sources within the centre-right grouping were concerned that S&D MEPs might be allured by the options on the left, the major centre-left group appeared to quell such concerns on Monday evening. In a tweet, the S&D Group said that it had reached a group with EPP and Renew to ensure a stable working majority until the 2024 elections.

MEPs will be asked to choose the candidate they prefer in a secret vote. If no candidate gets 50 per cent plus one of the votes, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and the European Parliament moves on to a second round of voting.

Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela wished Roberta Metsola luck ahead of the EP president election on Tuesday. Abela is in Strasbourg, where a memorial ceremony is being held to honour the late EP President David Sassoli, who died earlier this month. In a tweet, he said he had a positive meeting with Metsola.

Nationalist Party (EPP) leader Bernard Grech also wished Metsola for her election on Tuesday.

POLITICO reports that “Metsola will be capping off a campaign where she pitched herself as a young, experienced female leader who can inspire and build consensus across Europe’s fractious political divides”. It added quoting a senior Parliament official stating that “Metsola is the only serious contender for the post”,“She is seen as a ‘safe pair of hands”, the official added

POLITICO’s analysts said that following the deal with the S&D, the result is that Metsola will take control of the EU’s legislative body for two and a half years at a delicate moment — vaulted into the presidency by the large conservative bloc but facing increasingly empowered socialist and center-left groups as Parliament heads toward the 2024 elections. Taking over in the wake of the well-liked Sassoli’s passing will also present its own challenges. POLITICO also added that she’ll be navigating these dynamics as the Parliament tackles some of its most contentious issues: Slashing carbon emissions, digitizing the economy, bolstering the bloc’s military and toughening the EU’s rule-of-law compliance.

Context

Candidacies are put forward by a political group or by a group of MEPs reaching the so-called low threshold, i.e. 1/20th of MEPs, or 36 out of 705 Members when all seats are filled. Candidates can be proposed, or withdrawn, ahead of each voting round.

To be elected, they will need to win an absolute majority of valid votes, cast by secret vote, i.e. 50% plus one. Due to the pandemic, the vote will be held remotely. If after three rounds, no candidate has been successful, the two candidates with the most votes in the third round will proceed to a fourth and final vote, in which the candidate with the most votes is elected.

The result of a potential second round of voting would be announced to plenary at 13.00; at 16.30 if there is a third round, and at 18.30 if a fourth one were necessary. Follow @EuroparlPress in Twitter for updates.

The newly-elected President may then deliver an opening address before presiding over the election of the remaining members of Parliament’s Bureau (Tuesday and Wednesday).

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