Yesterday the Socialists in the European Parliament elected their new leader. The winner is Hannes Swoboda, an Austrian politician who gained 102 votes and beat very clearly Frenchwoman Catherine Trautmann and Briton Stephen Hughes (37 votes).
What does it mean?
The Socialists have chosen a line of continuation. Swoboda was the closes collaborator of Martin Schulz and therefore he ensures the future cooperation with Schulz as the President of the EP. One could mention many advantages of such a continuation but the socialists now will be facing a “new era”. The great coalition that gave power to Pöttering, Buzek and Schulz yesterday practically stopped working. It used to be cemented by special relations between the German Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. Everything worked until Schulz got elected, though in his case it worked only partially.
Let’s count all this. 670 MEPs voted. The candidate with the ECR Nirj Deva gained 142 votes. The liberal Diana Wallis got 141. Schulz obtained 387 votes, including certainly around 180 socialists, 60 greens and 30 members of extreme left. The rest, about 100 he got from the Christian Democrats. But there are 271 of them…
It is not the end of Hannes Swoboda’s troubles. He announced the fact that this is his last term and such a situation does not help in maintaining discipline within the group.
Swoboda is an expert in the field of the new Member States and supporter of the EU enlargement. He has so far coordinated the Socialist’s foreign policy and was very efficient. I expect that in my group there will be more discussions and reflection, something that would certainly help us to develop a strategy for the new times.