Brussels Daily
16 Jan 2017


Brussels Daily

MEPs elect on Tuesday 17 January Parliament’s new president to replace Martin Schulz who is stepping down after five years. Seven candidates have put themselves forward for the post so far ahead of the first ballot on Tuesday morning. In case the president is not elected during the first ballot, nominations can still be added or withdrawn before each subsequent round of voting.

Timetable of the election

The election of the new president starts at 9.00 CET with speeches by the candidates followed by up to four secret ballots, chaired by outgoing president Martin Schulz. The timetable is as following (all times are approximate and given in CET):


  • 9.00 Three-minute presentations by each candidate followed by the first secret ballot
  • 11.30 Outcome of the first ballot
  • 15.00 Outcome second ballot
  • 19.00 Outcome of third ballot
  • 21.00 Outcome of fourth ballot


The candidates

  • Eleonora Forenza, European United Left-Nordic Green Left Group (Italy),
  • Jean Lambert, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (UK),
  • Gianni Pittella, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Group (Italy),
  • Laurenţiu Rebega, Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (Romania),
  • Helga Stevens, European Conservatives and Reformists Group (Belgium),
  • Antonio Tajani, European People’s Party Group (Italy)
  • Guy Verhofstadt, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (Belgium) HAS WITHDRAWN HIS CANDIDACY

Nominations can be submitted or withdrawn before the second and third round. If needed, the fourth round will be held between the two best-scoring candidates of the third round and no new candidacies can be submitted


Why are these elections being held now?

The Parliament is elected for five years, but the term of office for president, vice-presidents, quaestors and committee chairs is two-and-a-half years. So elections are held at the beginning of a parliamentary term as well as at mid-term.
Who can stand as a candidate for president?

Any MEP can stand if they are backed by a political group or a minimum of 5% of all MEPS (which currently means at least 38 MEPs).
How does the winner gets decided?

To become president a candidate must obtain an absolute majority of the votes cast (50% + 1). Blank or spoiled ballot papers are not counted.

If there is no winner after the first ballot, the same candidates or new candidates can be nominated for a second round of voting under the same conditions.  This can be repeated a third time if necessary.
If no-one is elected during the third ballot, the two highest scoring candidates go to a fourth ballot, where the winner is decided by simple majority. If there is a tie, the older candidate is declared the winner.
What does the president do?

The president oversees all of the Parliament’s work, its governing bodies and plenary debates. He or she represents the Parliament in all legal affairs and external relations and at the start of every European Council summit sets out the Parliament’s point of view about the items on the agenda.
The president also signs the EU budget into law and co-signs legislation with the president of the Council.
Other elections

In addition to a new president, MEPs will also elect on 18 January 14 vice-presidents and five quaestors, who are responsible for administrative and financial matters directly affecting MEPs.

On 18 January, MEPs will elect Parliament’s 14 Vice-Presidents and five Quaestors in secret electronic votes, chaired by the newly-elected President. They will also approve the numerical composition of Parliament’s 22 standing committees. On 19 January, MEPs will vote on the appointments of members to committees.

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