Farage slams von der Leyen’s 51% majority and the internet has a field day
PUBLISHED: 13:01 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:03 17 July 2019
After the new EU Commission president was elected by a slim majority, Nigel Farage tweeted that she has “power but no legitimacy” - and the irony was not lost on Twitter.
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Ursula von der Leyen, taking over from Jean-Claude Juncker, was voted into power by MEPs by a margin of 383 votes to 327, just giving her a 51% majority. She needed the votes of 374 out of the 747 MEPs to win.
Reacting, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted: "Ursula von der Leyen has scraped in by 9 votes. Power but no legitimacy."
The statement has been quote-tweeted hundreds of times by critics who immediately compared this to the wafer-thin, 51.89% Leave mandate in the EU referendum. Farage has spent the last three years claiming this is a total mandate for not just Brexit but a no-deal Brexit.
Others noted how Farage's position on thin majorities seems to change according to who wins it, referring to the now-infamous quote from a Mirror interview in 2016 when, expecting to be narrowly beaten, he said: "In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way."
Twitter user @reesnewsome, presumably with head in hands, just said: "Someone tell him."
Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: "Don't lecture us on legitimacy," saying the referendum was advisory and "won on false promises".
Kai Pritchard tweeted: "51% to 49% is apparently 'scraping in' but 52% to 48% is some sort of overwhelming, unchallengable mandate."
Twitter user @jonnoGT patted himself on the back for having noted the utter predictability of it all in an earlier tweet, in which he said: "Already predicting the 'she has no mandate, 327 voted against her' tweets".
Irish Times journalist Ronan McGeevy pointed out that 51% is a large margin in the UK's first past the post system, where winning 45% of the vote can secure a party victory.
Farage and his Brexiteer MPs have been at loggerheads with von der Leyen since she was nominated for the leadership.
Brexit Party MEPs barracked her in EU parliament when she said that she was supportive of any UK attempt to revoke Article 50 and that she would like us to Remain.
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The new leader's mandate has come under criticism from Leavers and some Remain MEPs, as she was the only nominee on the ballot. The commission's presidency is selected via nomination from the European Council, which is made up of heads of member states. The nominee is then voted on by MEPs.
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