FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
BRUSSELS – Roberta Metsola, 43, will succeed David Sassoli at the helm of the European Parliament. The Maltese people’s deputy was elected today, Tuesday 18 January, with a large majority of votes. After some uncertainties due to her anti-abortion positions, the parliamentarian managed to get the support of the pro-European forces in the assembly in Strasbourg. The eye now turns to the renewal of committee chairs.
In favor of the popular, socialists and liberals (and Lega)
Ms. Metsola, mother of four, was elected in the first round with 458 votes in favor of 616 valid votes (690 deputies). The popular, the socialists and the liberals voted in favor. Although there were a few snipers, the new president was able to enjoy a large majority. The other candidates were the Swedish green Alice Kunkhe and the Spanish Sira Rego, a member of the radical left. Conservative candidate Kosma Zlotowski withdrew from the race in the morning. The League also voted for Ms Metsola, which noted an affinity “for the defense of family values”.
The positions on abortion
This very aspect had created a bad mood in recent weeks. In 2021 the parliamentarian had voted against a parliamentary resolution in defense of abortion, sparking protests from not a few deputies. Before the vote, the French liberal MEP Bernard Guetta had declared that the eventual election of Mrs. Metsola would be “a bad signal”.
The agreement between the parties
The criticism has ceased in part in recent days, perhaps also due to the untimely death of David Sassoli, a week before he was due to leave his mandate as president of the European Parliament. His death created quite a few emotions between Brussels and Strasbourg. Moreover, socialists and liberals, who did not present their own candidates, signed a new political agreement with the people on Monday evening to ensure “a stable working majority” until the end of the legislature.
In the program, the rule of law, women’s rights, the social dimension and budgetary rules stand out. Bringing women’s rights to the fore was a way for the socialist and liberal leadership to reassure the most riotous MPs. The election of Ms Metsola in the first round hides the desire of the pro-European forces to prevent the new president from being elected thanks to the votes of the Eurosceptic parties.