Published: Thu, July 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

European Parliament begins voting for new president

European Parliament begins voting for new president

Tuesday marks the opening of the new five-year session of the parliament, though the length of the UK's involvement remains in doubt.

The European Parliament has re-opened in Strasbourg, France with an anti-EU protest by the UK's Brexit Party and a demonstration by Catalan nationalists whose MEPs are barred.

British MEPs caused a stir at the plenary session of the newly elected European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. To be elected, the next president will have to secure an absolute majority. They did not appear in Madrid's parliament to declare their allegiance to the constitution last month, as required.

Junqueras, imprisoned in Spain, was not allowed to leave jail to take the pledge and, along with Puigdemont and Comin, was left off Spain's list of members, which numbered 51 rather than 54.

The vote comes on the heels of a hard agreement reached by the EU's 28 national leaders on filling the bloc's top jobs that saw German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen nominated as the next European Commission president, although she was not a lead candidate picked by one of the blocs in Parliament. Several leaders said they were optimistic of a breakthrough.

MEPs will have the final say in the EU's top four jobs, as all nominees must be confirmed by the European Parliament.

The Brexit Party kicked off the term by gathering outside the parliament holding "BeLeave in Britain" signs and marching into the chamber en masse.

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'I'm just surprised that the Brexit party so shamelessly copied the Nazi party in turning its back in an elected assembly, ' tweeted former Change UK candidate Gavin Esler.

The UK's pro-EU Liberal Democrats staged their own protest by wearing "Stop Brexit" T-shirts.

Britons voted narrowly in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union but the departure has been delayed by deadlock in the London parliament over the terms of Brexit.

Following the protests, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage issued a strong warning to Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt on their Brexit stances, stating he did not "believe a word" they said.

Instead, the Brexit Party's 29 members and the 5-Star's 14 are among the 55 considered unaffiliated in the parliament.

This delegation forms the backbone to the European People's Party, the parliament's biggest political family, whose internal divisions have so far blocked progress on filling top EU posts.

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