The Annual European Day of Persons with Disabilities (EDPD) Conference
13 December 2019
On 17th of January 2017, the election of the European Parliament president took place. Twice within the four-year term of the European Parliament, its elected members elect their president.
7 candidates from various political groups had been nominated:
Antonio Tajani (Group of the European People’s Party, Italy)
Gianni Pittella (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Italy)
Helga Stevens (European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Belgium)
Jean Lambert (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, United Kingdom)
Eleonora Forenza (Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, Italy)
Laurentiu Rebega (Europe of Nations and Freedom Group, Romania)
Guy Verhofstadt (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Belgium)
EUD was present in Strasbourg to follow the election process closely and to witness a historic moment, as for the first time in the history of the European Parliament, a deaf MEP, Helga Stevens, was a candidate to become its President.
On the day of the elections, Guy Verhofstadt dropped out of the race, so in the end 6 candidates stood for election.
Before the election started, all candidates gave their final campaign speeches. MEP Helga Stevens reminded the chamber of Europe’s motto “United in diversity” and highlighted her dedication to be a President who would represent MEPs (and their constituencies) from all over Europe, as “every voices matters”.
In order to be elected President, a candidate needed to obtain the absolute majority of the votes cast. This was not achieved in the first three rounds, in which MEP Antonio Tajani received the highest amount of votes, followed by MEP Gianni Pittella and MEP Helga Stevens. After three rounds without an absolute majority, according to the rules of procedure of the European Parliament, the vote was restricted to the two MEPs with the highest number of votes in the previous round, MEP Antonio Tajani and MEP Gianni Pittella.
In the fourth round, MEP Antonio Tajani was elected as President of the European Parliament.
In her post-election interview, MEP Helga Stevens showcased how her candidacy helped to make sign language more visible in the European Parliament and how being a deaf sign language user is not a barrier to effective political communication and participation in politics.
We congratulate MEP Helga Stevens and all the other candidates for their campaigns and MEP Antonio Tajani as the new President of the European Parliament and hope for a strong continued cooperation with the European Parliament.
You can find the exact results of the different rounds of voting on the following pages (The website is available in all official EU languages, you can change the language in the top left corner): http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170113IPR58026/antonio-tajani-elected-new-president-of-the-european-parliament
Video materials - © European Union 2017
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