MEPs have elected Italy’s David-Maria Sassoli, 63, as president of the European Parliament for a two-and-a-half-year term on July 3, with Bulgarian MEP Sergei Stanishev, whose nomination had been informally suggested by European leaders, withdrawing from the race.
Stanishev, who is Party of European Socialists (PES) leader, said in a Facebook post that he was honoured by the “wide agreement” among European heads of government for his nomination.
Being elected as president of European Parliament, one of the five key positions in EU institutions, would have been “an honour for me and high prestige for my country,” Stanishev said.
“But my nomination as PES president is binding for the political family and parliamentary group regarding the package agreed [by EU leaders for the other four top posts in the EU]. My participation in the race would have served as a stamp of approval of those decisions,” Stanishev said.
“This is why yesterday I asked the leader of the socialists group Iratxe Garcia not to consider my nomination for president of European Parliament,” he said.
Sassoli, a former TV journalist who was frist elected as MEP for Italy’s center-left Democratic Party in 2014, was elected in the second round of voting, receiving 345 votes.
He finished ahead of Germany’s Ska Keller, nominated by the Greens, Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, whose name was put forth by the Conservatives and Reformists group, and Spain’s Sira Rego, nominated by United Left-Nordic Green Left.
Sassoli’s nomination – and Stanishev’s remarks about the “disappointment” with which the Socialists and Democrats group greeted the deal for EU’s top positions, agreed by the heads of government – will likely raise tensions ahead of the confirmation votes in European Parliament.
(Photo of Stanishev: PES)