ALDE Bureau elections: the runners and riders

alde-congress-2016Yes, it’s election time again, as the ALDE Party elects different positions in alternate years, the Presidency and some Vice-Presidents in odd-numbered years, the Treasurer and a few more Vice-Presidents in even-numbered years.

This year, there is no British interest, with Ros Scott having been safely elected as a Vice-President last year. As for the Treasurer, it looks as though there will be a intra-Slovene handover, with outgoing Treasurer, Roman Jakič, expected to be replaced by the sole candidate, Gašper Koprivsek from SMC (Modern Centre Party).

There are five candidates for three Vice-Presidential slots;

Henrik Bach Mortensen, from Venstre (Denmark), has an impressive CV, and is Chair of the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy, their equivalent of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. He is notably endorsed by the leader of Denmark’s other member party, Radikale Venstre, and by EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The fact that he came to London recently to campaign in Richmond Park will, doubtless, have no influence on how the Liberal Democrat delegation vote.

imageLuis Garicano is the candidate of the new kids on the block, Ciudadanos (Spain). He is a Professor of Economics and Strategy at the London School of Economics and spoke most eloquently at a fringe meeting at our Federal Conference in Brighton a few months ago. In his manifesto, he highlights the need to defend free trade and to take a pro-market, as opposed to pro-business, stance.

Mats Löfström is a member of the Finnish Parliament, representing the Swedish People’s Party. Endorsed by the Finnish Prime Minister, who leads the Centre Party there (another ALDE member party), as well as by the leader of the Swedish Centre Party, Annie Lööf, he wants to strengthen the role of the national Parliaments in the European project.

Angelika Mlinar is the only serving Vice-President up for re-election, and represents NEOS (Austria) in the European Parliament. Her goals, if elected, include strengthening liberalism by building the capacity of the member parties, empowering women and the promotion of our liberal values in the European Parliament. She has, in support of her campaign, produced a unique video…

And finally, Urmas Paet is the Estonian candidate, from the Reform Party. Foreign Minister for ten years and a former Minister of Culture in a country that takes its culture very seriously, he was elected to the European Parliament in 2014. If elected, he will bring a strong profile on defence and security issues, especially important given the fluid situation following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President.

They’re all credible candidates, and it isn’t easy to envisage who might be successful. Regional alliances, perceptions of social liberals versus economic ones, quality of campaign, all of these will have an influence, but with voting due to start on Saturday morning, the results will be announced on Saturday evening, just before the close of the Congress.

* By the time you read this, Mark Valladares will probably be the Returning Officer for these elections…

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.
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