|Author (Person)||Banks, Martin|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.43, 22.11.01, p2|
FIRST PARA TX = A FIFTH candidate has joined the race to become the next president of the European Parliament - and immediately risked controversy by criticising the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan.
Gerard Onesta, a French member of the Greens and European Free Alliance group, said: "Bombing the civilian population in Afghanistan and adding to the victims of the Twin Towers is not the answer.
"Instead of taking military action, America should have sought a solution through diplomatic or other means."
The assembly's current vice-president said constitutional issues and parliamentary reform would be at the forefront of his campaign.
An architect by profession, the 41 year old is in his second term as an MEP, having first served from 1992-94.
"I may not represent one of the big political groups but I firmly believe I have something positive to add, otherwise I wouldn't be standing," he said.
"I will be trying to ensure that the issue of constitutional affairs gets a good airing in the election."
The four other declared candidates who will be contesting the 15 January election to succeed Nicole Fontaine are: Socialist David Martin, Liberal Pat Cox, Francis Wurtz of the United Left Group, and Jens-Peter Bonde, chairman of the Europe of Democracies and Diversities group.
The increased field is likely to have a decisive impact on the election. Liberal leader Cox can rely on the support of the Conservatives as well as his own party (284 votes) after striking a deal when Fontaine became president. Scotsman Martin should be guaranteed the 181 votes of his group.
But it is the 161 votes of the minority groups that could possibly sway the outcome of the poll. Meanwhile, Danish MEP Bonde has suggested that not ten but 12 countries should be included in the next wave of European Union expansion.
He said: "I think all 12 candidate countries, apart from Turkey, should be admitted in time for the parliamentary elections in 2004."
The president is elected in a ballot of all MEPs by an overall majority. If no candidate wins an absolute majority following three ballots, a fourth ballot is conducted with only the two candidates who obtained the largest number of votes in the third ballot.
According to the rules, if the fourth ballot is a draw, the oldest candidate is declared president.
Gerard Onesta, a French member of the Greens and European Free Alliance group, has joined the race to become the next president of the European Parliament.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|