Former TV news presenter David Sassoli, head of the European Parliament since 2019, died on Tuesday. To succeed him, the Greens wishing for a “feminist, sustainable and democratic Europe” are presenting the Swedish candidate Alice Bah Kuhnke. She will face the conservative Maltese Roberta Metsola.
Green MEP and former Swedish minister Alice Bah Kuhnke will be a candidate next week to succeed Italian David Sassoli as president of the European Parliament, against the conservative Maltese Roberta Metsola, favorite of the ballot, her parliamentary group announced on Wednesday. .
“A feminist Europe”
“We are fighting for a feminist, sustainable and democratic Europe, and call on all MEPs to support these principles,” said Mrs Bah Kuhnke, 50, MEP since 2019 and vice-president of the Green group.
A television presenter before entering politics, she was Swedish Minister of Culture and Democracy between 2014 and 2019. She will face Roberta Metsola (EPP, right), Spain’s Sira Rego (The Left, radical left) and the Polish Kosma Zlotowski (ECR, Eurosceptics), to take over from the Social Democrat David Sassoli, who died on Tuesday.
The term of the latter, President of Parliament since 2019, ended this month, halfway through the five-year legislature. The election for his successor is scheduled for January 18 in Strasbourg, in plenary session.
His group, the Social Democrats (S&D), the second political force in the European Parliament, had given up in mid-December to present a candidate, paving the way for Roberta Metsola, supported by the EPP, the first group in the hemicycle.
The presentation of the candidate of the Greens is however likely to rally the voices of MEPs reluctant to support Roberta Metsola because of her anti-abortion positions. A very widespread line in Malta, the last country in the EU where abortion remains completely illegal, but which makes people cringe in the hemicycle.
David Sassoli had been brought to the head of Parliament following an agreement between the leaders of the EPP, S&D and Renew Europe (centrists and liberals) who had pledged to support him and then elect a candidate PPE then.
But, on the strength of recent electoral successes, particularly in Germany, the S&D proved reluctant to give way as expected. S&D and Renew, which are not presenting a candidate, have not yet finalized their position for the January 18 election. The two groups continued Wednesday their discussions with the other political formations and the hearings of the candidates.
Interim President in 2021
The election of the President of Parliament is accompanied by a renewal of positions of officials in the parliamentary committees and European institutions, fueling bitter negotiations between the political groups.
MEP since 2013 and Vice-President of Parliament since 2020, Roberta Metsola recently gained visibility by acting as interim David Sassoli, removed from the hemicycle in the fall because of pneumonia. She is the interim president until next week.