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Spanish Socialist Could Lead European Parliament

July 7, 2004

The Socialists have voted for Josep Borrell to be their presidential candidate in Parliament. If the traditional center-right Socialists' power-sharing arrangement is confirmed, he will become the body's next president.


A Spaniard could lead the European Parliament for the next two year and half years following a vote in the Socialist group early on Tuesday morning. Josep Borrell, whose Socialist Party did so well in Spain in the European election in June, received overwhelming backing from his colleagues, with 117 votes, while his rival for the post, UK parliamentarian Terry Wynn, received just 66. The 57-year old economist, who was active in the Felipe González government in Spain, was also a frequent visitor to Brussels as a Spanish MP when he represented the national parliament in the body that drew up the draft European Constitution. The other two candidates up for presidential nomination, Austrian Hannes Swoboda and Slovene Borut Pahor, withdrew their nominations Tuesday after it became clear that it was a two-man race. Should the traditional power-sharing arrangement between the Socialists and the center-right European People's Party be confirmed as expected, then Borrell would succeed out-going parliament head Pat Cox later this month. In the second half of the five-year legislative period, the center-right would then take over, with current EPP group leader Hans-Gert Pöttering likely taking the helm. (EUobserver.com)