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Liberal leader pledges to end job-fixing in the EP -EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - In an unusual move, the leader of the third biggest grouping in the European Parliament, the liberals, or Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe - UK Liberal Democrat MEP Graham Watson - has this month set out his stall for the post of presidency of the chamber.

He wants to do away with the cosy tradition of power-sharing between the Socialists and the conservatives in the house, with the aim of boosting the parliament's profile and role.

Give the conservatives and Socialists a 'collective raspberry', says the EU parliament's liberal leader

The parliament's president is elected for a two-and-a-half-year term - or two elections to the post per parliamentary term. Since the 1980s, however, the conservative European People's Party (EPP) and the Party of European Socialists (PES) have regularly had a gentleman's agreement that they would share the two terms between them.

So despite the democracy of elections to the chamber, the decision of who gets to be president is made behind closed doors. Already, just over five months away from the June parliamentary elections, the EPP-ED and PES have reportedly agreed that the president for the first term will be the EPP's Jerzy Buzek, a Polish MEP and in the second term will be Martin Schulz, a German deputy and current leader of the socialist.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:24:32 PM EST
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