The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament has announced in a press release that it wants its group leader Graham Watson to become the next President of the European Parliament.
In fact, this is truly the only major EU post that is exclusively chosen and elected by the European Parliament, so there is some sense in running for this post. It is also the only realistic chance for ALDE to get a major post at all.
But who is this Graham Watson?
I have to say that I saw him some two years ago during a conference in the European Parliament, but he did not leave a particular impression on me, which might not be his fault since I was in a rush and he seemed in a rush, not the perfect occasion to leave an impression. I think I have seen him at another event somewhere in the Union, but I don't remember him particularly.
So let's have a look at we can get about him:
- He is English (i.e. British).
- He is a liberal.
- He is in the European Parliament for 15 years (three periods).
- He has some kind of blog and some kind of videoblog (also published on Youtube).
- He was the Chairman of the EP's Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs.
The youth wing of the European Liberal Party (called LYMEC) not surprisingly supports this initiative, especially since they have demanded a personalisation of the European election process.
To be honest: Watson's chances are pretty low, taking into account that the Socialists and Conservatives (i.e. the PES and the EPP) will most probably make the same deal as last time sharing the position of the EP president between these two major groups during the next five years. Yet, Pat Cox proved that it is not impossible for an ELDR politician to get into this position, so campaigning for Mr Watson is at least a sign of some kind of ambition.
Nevertheless, it is rather a lack of ambition by the Liberals not to put forward an own candidate for the next European Commission presidency, an opportunity lost at the last Congress of the European Liberal Party.
Taking Mr Watson as candidate for EP presidency is just a small sign of politicisation of the European elections, not more and not less.
Under the category "Tracking: European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.
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