In just a few hours time we will know which of the party figureheads has been successful in their quest to be leader of the largest faction in the European parliament, and if Europe’s electorate has bothered to turn out and vote in greater numbers than last time.
Martin Shultz, the German Social Democrat, hopes to lead a broad left revival and end the power-sharing deal with Jean-Claude Junker’s centre-right that has dominated the EU for so long.
The Liberal European wing is led by Belgian veteran Guy Verhofstadt, and they have been cheered, along with the other mainstream parties, by leaked results from the Netherlands which suggest extremist nationalist parties may not do as well as first thought.
However after five years of austerity Europe’s militant left senses there may be fertile terrain to exploit, and in Greece’s Alex Tsipras they have a charismatic leader. The balance of parliamentary power matters, as the leader of the EU’s powerful commission is chosen on the basis of seats in parliament.
Last but not least Ska Keller is one of two Green candidates, and she voted early by postal ballot to avoid the rush. Once the formation of the parliamentary chamber is known the role of citizens ends, and the backroom deals begin to find an acceptable candidate for member states for the new EU Commission. Britain has already ruled out support for either Shultz or Juncker.