What impact will the EU Lead Candidates have during the May Elections? The idea that vitality and energy would be introduced to the campaign by the European Groupings fielding a single candidate to front their campaigns, may not quite work out in practice.
There are five main groups putting forward their chosen candidate to front the 28 state wide election campaign. There are seven lead candidates nominated from five groups. Both the Greens and the Alde Groups have nominated two main candidates. It is unclear which of the Greens, should their Group be successful would in fact be nominated as the Commission President, while the Alde Group have already done an internal trade off with their second candidate Ollie Rehn, allowing the top spot go to Guy Verhofstadt, while Rehn will be promoted for another top job within the system.
It is proposed that a number of televised debates be held and broadcast across Europe allowing these candidates address the big questions. Such a programme works for Eurovision but will it for political debate? We have yet to learn which language the debates will be held in and it may be difficult to operate due to lack of fluency by the viewer in the chosen language. All the main groups have much the same vision for Europe, the possible exception is the Left, whose candidate is the Greek Alexis Tsipras. But even with this fire brand it is hard to see how a debate of this nature will engage the voter.
The new Parliament will have additional powers and it is important who are elected as our MEPs and who the Commission President is. We, the voter, should play our part in the electoral process. In turn the candidates must find real ways of engagement with their constituents; they must find a connection to encourage voter participation on the 23rd May.