Four-way race for Roberta Metsola as Greens submit candidate for EP presidency

Roberta Metsola will face competition from the Greens, the European Left, and right-wing conservatives before clinching the presidency

Alice Bah Kuhnke (left) is a Swedish Green MEP who will contest the EP Presidency, but Roberta Metsola (right) is widely tipped for the post
Alice Bah Kuhnke (left) is a Swedish Green MEP who will contest the EP Presidency, but Roberta Metsola (right) is widely tipped for the post

Nationalist MEP and European Parliament vice-president Roberta Metsola faces a four-way race to the EP’s presidency, after the European Greens elected Alice Bah Kuhnke as their candidate for the presidency.

The next president succeeds the late David Sassoli, who died at 65 earlier this week, but whose two-and-half-year tenure was coming to an end. He was elected to the House presidency in 2019 as part of a rotational deal to have socialists take the presidency for the first half of the legislature.

Despite being a poll favourite for the position, Metsola, who is backed by the EP’s largest political. grouping, the centre-right European People’s Party, faces Sira Rego (The Left), Kosma Zlotowski (ECR), and now Alice Bah Kuhnke in the election that takes place on Tuesday, 18 January.

Kuhnke is a former Swedish minister who was also a TV presenter and skilled sprinter, who campaigned for her country to join the EU in a referendum in 1994, and in Brussels, has been a member of the Parliament’s civil liberties, women’s rights and gender equality committees. Her candidacy is also aimed at getting votes from those MEPs from other parties who oppose Metsola over her anti-abortion stance.

Widely tipped for the post, Metsola has still received heavy flak particularly from French MEPs over her anti-abortion voting record, wiuth some MEPs reluctant to support her candidacy, and other parliamentary groups pushing for a pro-choice unity candidate.

S&D and Renew have not fielded a candidate, but neither have they made it clear who they will support when the ballots are cast.

S&D president Iratxe Garcia Perez had warned that the socialists would be demanding political balance inside the European institutions if an EPP candidate is elected.

Before Sassoli’s death, the political balance was distributed across European institutions by the three major parliamentary groups. The EPP have Ursula von De Leyen as Commission president, while Renew Group have Charles Michel as Council president. The S&D group had Sassoli as House president.

If Metsola takes over the reins next week, the S&D group would have no direct power in any of the institutions, except for Josep Borrell as the EU’s external relations commissioner.

Ewropej Funded by the European Union

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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