MOSCOW (Sputnik) — To win, any of the seven contenders for the highest post in the 751-seat Parliament needs to get an absolute majority. If none manages to obtain the necessary support following three rounds, the fourth round will see two most popular candidates competing simply for the highest number of votes.
In December, when Tajani was chosen as the EPP candidate, the Group’s leader Wanfred Weber called him a “bridge-builder” between the political forces “inside our house and a strong voice outside”. But many lawmakers still doubt his credentials in bridge-building, since Tajani became the first candidate within the largest European Parliament’s group to stand internal primaries rather than being nominated unanimously by the whole group.
In order to secure the election, Tajani needs the support of 376 lawmakers, while the EPP has just 214 seats.
However, Pitella challenged this unofficial agreement by standing for the top job himself, arguing his candidacy would prevent the concentration of power in the hands of the EPP as both European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, leading the European Council of 28 national leaders, come from the EPP.
The race for the top job in the European Parliament also includes two women — Belgian lawmaker Helga Stevens from the third-largest European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, known for being the first female within the Parliament identifying herself as deaf, and Eleonora Forenza from Confederal Group of the European United Left — Nordic Green Left, calling herself “a feminist from the south of Europe” and promising to radically change an EU model "based on neoliberalism, on austerity, on budget constraint, on the sovereign debts and the blackmails”, as she put it last Thursday outlining her candidacy.
Last but not least is former Belgium Prime Minister and leader of the forth-largest liberal ALDE Group comprising 68 lawmakers Guy Verhofstadt who positions himself as a compromise candidate.
"The most likely winner is Mr. Tajani because he is a candidate from the biggest political group. But we will have a few days to discuss and form alliances and I compare this to sea with high waves and lot of boats and nobody knows which boat will be the first in the harbor," Vice President of the European Parliament Alexander Graf Lambsdorff told Sputnik late last week, suggesting that it may also be “Mr. Verhofstadt's boat if the alliances shift".
The vote on Tuesday will be followed by the election of the parliament’s 14 vice presidents as well as five quaestors, responsible for administrative and financial matters directly affecting the lawmakers.
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