Martin Schulz has been elected for a second term as president of the European Parliament. It is the first time a Parliament president has been re-elected for a second term. The vote was 409 for Schulz, 314 against or blank.
Schulz was Parliament president from January 2012 until he stood down two weeks ago to become leader of the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, so that he could take part in consultations on the presidency of the European Commission. Schulz was the centre-left candidate for Commission president but conceded defeat to Juncker, after initial hesitation, when the EPP emerged as the strongest group from elections in May. Schulz then pressed to become a vice-president of the Commission and, thereby, Germany’s European commissioner. But that was unacceptable to Angela Merkel, Germany’s centre-right chancellor, who is governing with Schulz’s party, the SPD, as junior partner.
His candidacy for the Parliament’s presidency follows a deal between the two largest groups in the Parliament – the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the S&D, as part of a ‘grand coalition’ that paved the way for Jean-Claude Juncker to become president of the European Commission (EU leaders nominated Juncker for that position at a summit on Friday).
Three other groups put forward candidates for the presidency: Ulrike Lunacek, an Austrian MEP, from the Greens (who received 51 votes), Sajjad Karim, a British Conservative, of the European Conservatives and Reformists, (101 votes); and Pablo Iglesias, a Spaniard from the Podemos party, from the far-left GUE (51 votes). 111 ballots were blank or spoiled.