European Parliament: Alice Kuhnke’s candidacy complicates the race for the presidency


After Simone Veil and Nicole Fontaine, the Maltese Roberta Metsola, MEP since 2013, will she become the third woman president of the European Parliament ? The ballot will be held on Tuesday 18 January in Strasbourg. But, while the way seemed clear for the candidate of the group of the European People’s Party (the EPP, right), an obstacle now stands in the way of the favorite: a candidacy from the group of the Greens – even though the ecologists had promised not to introduce anyone.

The choice of dam

Thus, since Tuesday January 11, the environmentalist MEP Alice Kuhnke, former Minister of Culture and Democracy in Sweden, has joined the race for the highest office in Parliament. She beat the French Karima Delli – by 30 votes against 22 – the time of an internal election hastily organized after a hearing by Roberta Metsola which left the Greens speechless.

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This “operation seduction” – according to the term used by a source – of the Maltese conservative among the 73 elected Greens seemed lost in advance, so much her anti-abortion position, a line very widely held in Malta (the last country in the Union where abortion remains completely illegal), makes people cringe in Strasbourg and Brussels, especially among ecologists.

For a “feminist” Europe

Result: Alice Kuhnke, who sits on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (Femm), was quick to plead for a Europe “feminist”, but also “sustainable and democratic”, thus complicating the task of Roberta Metsola, who very likely bet on an election from the first ballot, obtaining the absolute majority of votes (ie the votes of at least 353 MEPs). If, after three ballots, no candidate obtains this absolute majority, the two deputies who obtained the greatest number of votes in the third ballot may be the only candidates in the fourth ballot.

The Spaniard Sira Rego, for the group The Left in the European Parliament (The Left), as well as the Pole Kosma Zlotowski, member of the group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), are also in the running. The group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S & D), to which belonged David Sassoli, outgoing president who died on Tuesday January 11, and which is the second political force in the hemicycle, had given up in mid- December to present a candidate – and stands by this decision. Ditto for the centrist group Renew Europe (RE).

The price of support

But the possible rallying of these two groups behind the candidate Roberta Metsola will not go without counterparts: the post of president of the Conference of the presidents of committee of the European Parliament is for example particularly coveted. This is the political body that coordinates the work of the various parliamentary committees. The same applies to certain positions in the administration.

It is also a stronger influence on the political agenda which is paid for the time of this kind of negotiations. Anyway, the agreement dating back to the summer of 2019, when the highest functions in the institutions were shared, which granted the presidency of Parliament to the S & D for the first half of the mandate, then to the EPP thereafter , seems to be in the process of being respected.