Friday, October 15, 2010

ELDR Congress: a parade of ambitious Europeans

Yesterday afternoon saw the presentation of the seven, no, make it six candidates for the three Vice-Presidential vacancies (the Kosovan contender having withdrawn), Lena Ek (Centerpartiet, Sweden), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD, Netherlands), Norica Nicolai (PNL, Romania), Vesna Pusic (HNS, Croatia), Dick Roche (Fianna Fail, Ireland) and our own Graham Watson.

But first, the introduction of a new Treasurer took place. Roman Jakic (Zares, Slovenia) looked a bit familiar. His CV reminded me why. Many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I had rather more hair than I do now, Roman was a new face at IFLRY, and a popular one too, whilst I was a slightly perplexed International Officer of the English Young Liberal Democrats. He does actually have to be elected, but as he is unopposed, this is merely a constitutional nicety.

So, what were my impressions of the six candidates?

I was most impressed by Vesna Pusic, who came across as serious, credible and coherent. Graham Watson was his usual polished self, whilst Dick Roche combined high politics and folksy charm. Lena Ek was enthusiastic, but Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Norica Nicolai made little impression on me.

I'll be voting for Vesna, Graham and Dick today, although that shouldn't be taken as a guide to the intentions of our delegation.

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