On 17 January Antonio Tajani from the European People’s Party was elected President of the European Parliament after an acrimonious election procedure that ran into an unprecedented four rounds of voting before the winner was found. Key to Tajani’s election was support from the liberal (ALDE) group and the European Conservatives and Reformists. His backing clearly came from the right wing of the European Parliament, but it is a mixed bag of supporters. Crucially, his supporters do not compose a majority in the Parliament. Other pretenders for the Presidency lost feathers in the process, notably ALDE-Chairman Verhofstadt by jumping in the course of 24 hours from partnership with the Italian Five-star movement to an agreement with EPP. The Socialist (S&D) president Gianni Pittella was the big loser.
The process and the outcome will mark the work of the Parliament for the rest of the legislature.