ECR Party

European Parliament President Election – the usual farce

In stark contrast to the outdated, aimless candidates of EPP and ALDE, Helga Stevens (ECR) is the pinnacle of political cutting-edge. She would make the best new President of the European Parliament, writes Serena Lit.

With the cessation of the Grand coalition that was Martin Schulz’s tenure, we now look to elect a new President of the European Parliament and Antonio Tajani of the European People’s Party (EPP) seems the obvious candidate to seize the role. After all, the EPP accounts for 216 of Parliament’s 751 MEPs and numbers have proven to trump reason time and time again in this institution.

However, the UK continuing its membership of the EU and the election of Hilary Clinton were equally ‘obvious’ until the pin-drop moment when the results were announced. Across the world there are budding movements for fresh blood in our highest offices, and Europe is no exception.

The larger groups proposing candidates have opted for the monotony of an archaic formula, skimming over the list and the words ‘pale, male and stale’ spring to mind. The Presidency ballot has been grossly neglected by Europe’s chief news groups; people are just not interested in yet another election contested almost exclusively by narrow-minded old crones whose only real contribution to politics will be their resignation.

The vast majority of candidates in this election can be measured against one another on a scale of incompetence, from the Five Star Movement’s (FSM) serial demagogue, Beppe Grillo, to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe’s (ALDE) super- state fanatic, Guy Verhofstadt. Verhofstadt’s answer to every contemporary political issue appears to be an animated cry for a bigger Europe, a better Europe and most definitely a bankrupt Europe. Meanwhile - ever the motor yacht and Ferrari enthusiast - Grillo’s agenda has always been anti-globalist, Eurosceptic and ironically environmentalist.

Last Monday the unlikely double-act entertained a bonkers public proposal to form a parliamentary alliance. Upon reflection, whilst their doctrines differ drastically, it is of little surprise that two men who share the same fickle dogma and desperate lust for power would compromise their democratic integrity so frivolously. The twisted marriage was quickly annulled by ALDE’s 69 outraged MEPs, though the fact an alliance was even up for negotiation suggests both men possess a damning lack of self-confidence in their own electoral prospects. One can only hope their imbecilic indulgence at the expense of their own parties will leave their days left in office numbered.

In stark contrast to the outdated, aimless men above, New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) candidate, Helga Stevens, is the pinnacle of political cutting-edge. An avid defender of democracy, Helga says “Regardless of who is elected, the President should be chosen by all MEPs and should represent all MEPs equally.” Having been deaf all her life, Helga is no stranger to marginalisation and over the years has become a pioneer in the fight for disabled rights. Never has there ever been such a skilled silent orator, Helga has a flair for drowning out even the loudest shouts of the “hof”’s bigotry, all without making a sound.

Unlike her opponents, Helga has a winning track record. She was the first deaf person in Belgium to earn a law degree, elected as a member of the Flemish Parliament at just 35 years of age in 2004, became a member of the Belgian Senate three years later in 2007 and eventually a Member of the European Parliament in May 2014. Within mere months of being elected as an MEP, she rose to serve as vice-president of the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR) and President of the European Parliament’s Disabilities Intergroup.

At 48 years old, Helga is 13 years younger than the average age of past presidents, a true breath of fresh air. If elected, she would become the third female President of the European Parliament and a new inspiration in the movement for gender equality. Helga is the key to making every voice in Europe matter. She demands an end to the Grand Coalition with its backroom deals and a return to real democracy, in her own words claiming her candidacy would “give all MEPs a real choice, and I believe this coming election is the first one that is truly open to that possibility, because the two largest groups are not agreeing on one candidate."

On January 17th ACRE will be fully supporting Helga Stevens. With Shultz on the way out, we can dare to dream for a President that believes in democracy at last.

Serena Lit contributed this article. The content of her opinion piece does not reflect the official opinion of the ACRE. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the opinion piece lies entirely with the author.

Photo: courtesy of POLITICO