Euro parliament elects new leader

Other News Materials 14 July 2009 15:17 (UTC +04:00)
Euro parliament elects new leader

The European Parliament has elected former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek as the chamber's president, reported BBC.

The election of the 69-year-old Polish conservative was the first job of the newly-elected parliament in Strasbourg.

Mr Buzek is the first politician from the former communist bloc to chair the parliament. He received 555 votes in a first ballot.

The elections last month produced an assembly of 736 MEPs with the centre-right forming the biggest bloc.

Mr Buzek headed a coalition government in Poland in 1997-2001. He joined the European Parliament in 2004, the year of Poland's EU accession.

"Human rights will be a priority," Mr Buzek told MEPs, recalling the key role of the Solidarity trade union movement in democratising Poland in the 1980s.

He replaced German conservative Hans-Gert Poettering as parliament president.

MEPs will postpone for at least two months a vote on reappointing European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, a veteran Portuguese conservative.

The new parliament includes far-right groups that made gains in June, including the British National Party.

Correspondents say it is not clear how British MEPs from the political mainstream will interact with their two colleagues from the BNP.

It is also not yet clear whether the BNP will form a new bloc with other far-right MEPs - including those from Hungary's Jobbik, France's National Front, Belgium's Vlaams Belang, Bulgaria's Ataka, the Danish People's Party, and the Dutch Freedom Party - or be independent.