José Manual Barroso was re-elected as President of the European Commission for the 2009-14 term, following a vote by members of the European Parliament.
Mr Barroso, who needed a simple majority of the 736 MEPs, gained 382 votes for, 219 against, with 117 MEPs abstaining, giving him just enough votes to pass the mark of 368 MEPs, half the total.
The election of the President of the Commission is currently governed by rules of the Nice Treaty, which requires a simple majority 301 votes in this case. But an absolute majority – at least 369 votes – as required by the stalled Lisbon Treaty, would give Barroso a strong mandate for the next five years.
Barroso explained after the vote that the stronger-than-expected support meant that certain members of the European Parliament from the left wing refused to follow orders of their groups and voted for him.
The centre-right European People's Party, the largest political group in the European Parliament, the ALDE and the European Conservatives and Reformists group had voiced support for Barroso. But the second-largest political force, the 184-member Progressive Aliiance of Socialists and Democrats, and the 55-member Greens-European Free Alliance group were against his re-election.
Barroso was the only candidate for the job, after the Socialists failed to nominate a candidate of their own.
Barroso still needs to be formally appointed by the 27 heads of state and government of the EU member states.
The vote paves the way for Barroso to come up with a list of 26 commissioners, who in turn need to be approved by the European Parliament as a whole.
Barroso indicated that he would wait for the outcome of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on 2 October, before the new Commission is nominated.
Under the Lisbon Treaty, a new post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs will be created. The High Representative will concurrently be a Vice-President of the Commission, merging the duties of the current foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana and EU External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
16 September 2009