Verhofstadt: EPP and S&D now having to cooperate with ALDE, Greens

Guy Verhofstadt
Guy Verhofstadt Source: AP / Scanpix

Guy Verhofstadt, leader of The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) European Parliament group said Sunday's voting projections indicate the European Parliament will have a "new balance of power," and that the long-dominant conservative European People's Party (EPP) and social democratic Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) groups will have to share much more power, Baltic News Service reports.

Verhofstadt said ALDE, which both Reform Party and Centre Party MEPs from Estonia sit with, boosted by the addition of French President Emmanuel Macron's LREM party, will be an essential power-broker in the negotiations to get a working majority in the legislature, and to back a candidate to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission.

Verhofstadt said the two mainstream parties "will no longer have a majority and it means no solid pro-euro majority is possible," without his ALDE group and other pro-EU parties like the Greens.

At press time, the EPP is still the largest grouping, but on 178 seats, down from 217. Similarly, S&D has fallen from 186 to 147 seats, but is still the second-largest grouping (figures subject to change).

Thus EPP and S&D together no longer have a majority at the 751-seat (pre-Brexit) European Parliament, being on around 325 seats together.

Estonia is sending two SDE MEPs to Strasbourg, Marina Kaljurand and Sven Mikser, and they will sit with S&D. Isamaa traditionally sits with the EPP grouping. However, Riho Terras was bumped down to seventh place at Sunday's election, as Marina Kaljurand garnered enough votes to bring Sven Mikser with her, under the d'Hondt system of proportional representation (Mikser got 2,886 votes himself). If and when the U.K. leaves the E.U. and Estonia gets one of its redistributed seats, Terras will be able to take up a seat.

ALDE is predicted to get a little over 100 seats and the European Greens, the grouping which Indrek Tarand sat with for two terms, will be on around 70.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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