The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the second largest political force in the European Parliament, on Tuesday dropped another candidate for the presidency, paving the way for Malta’s Roberta Metsola (EPP, right) to succeed the current Social Democrat president. italian David Sassoli.

“We will not present an S&D candidate, the conditions are not met,” a spokesman for the Strasbourg group told AFP, Agerpres reported.

In the context of the rejection of a Social Democrat candidacy by the centrist / liberal (Renew Europe) and environmental groups, David Sassoli, weakened in recent months by pneumonia, is not running for a second term, despite “unanimous support” in November. part of the members of his political group.

The current term of office of the former Italian news presenter expires in January 2022, in the middle of the five-year term.

He came to the helm of the European Parliament in 2019, following an agreement between the leaders of the S&D, EPP and Renew Europe groups, who pledged to support him and then choose an EPP candidate. But with the recent election successes, especially in Germany, S&D has not shown its readiness to step down from the European Parliament as planned.

At present, the path seems clear for the success of Malta’s Roberta Metsola, Parliament’s Vice-President, who was nominated as the EPP candidate in November.

In the event of a victory in the secret ballot scheduled for the January plenary session of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola would be the youngest president of the institution and the third woman, after Simone Veil and Nicole Fontaine, at the age of 42.

“We have a convincing, young, female candidate from a small country in the EU,” German EPP President Manfred Weber said on Tuesday.

Although his knowledge of the institution and files cannot be questioned, the candidacy raises some questions as a result of his position against abortion, a widespread view in Malta, the last EU country where abortion is completely illegal.

If her political group has not yet defined its position, Bernard Guetta (LREM, Renew Europe) has indicated that he will not personally vote for Roberta Metsola, as this would send a very bad signal “for women’s rights”.

Only two other political groups are running for office: The Radical Left, with Sira Rego of Spain, and the Eurosceptics of the ECR, with Poland’s Kosma Zlotowski.

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