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The Latest: Merkel wants quick deal on head of EU Commission
The Latest: Merkel wants quick deal on head of EU Commission

BRUSSELS (AP), May 28 (TIWN) — The latest on European elections (all times local): 8:10 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she'd like to see a quick agreement on who should run the European Union's executive branch, a matter on which her own governing coalition so far is divided.

In her first comments on the outcome of the European Parliament election, Merkel said both her center-right bloc and her center-left coalition partners back the idea that the head of the EU's executive Commission should be a politician who ran for that job.

Merkel said "we want to find a solution as quickly as possible, because the European Parliament will meet at the beginning of July and it would of course be desirable if there were already a proposal at that point" from heads of state and government.

Merkel's Union bloc backs German conservative Manfred Weber while the center-left Social Democrats support the Netherlands' Frans Timmermans. Merkel said "the quicker we make the decision, the better that is for the future."


4:45 p.m.

The leader of Italy's governing 5-Star Movement is blaming abstentions among his voting base for the party's bad showing in the European parliamentary election.

Luigi Di Maio acknowledged Monday that "for us, the European elections went badly." The 5-Stars finished third in Italy after being the top vote-getter in a national election just a year ago.

Di Maio said the abstentions mean "there is a lot to do. There are responses to give to these people who are awaiting answers."

The SWG polling agency said voters who backed the 5-Star Movement last year either were disappointment and stayed home, or voted for Matteo Salvini's hard-line League party. A full 38% of those who voted 5-Star last year abstained, while another 14% voted for the League.

The 5-Stars took just 17% of the vote, compared with nearly 33% last year.

Salvini's party captured 34% of Sunday's European vote and the opposition Democratic Party made a surprise comeback to finish second with 22.7%.


4:15 p.m.

A senior German official is criticizing the leader of the Brexit Party that trounced traditional political forces in Britain's vote for the European Parliament.

Michael Roth, Germany's deputy foreign minister, said Monday that Nigel Farage's past terms as a lawmaker in the EU parliament hadn't been marked by work "but rather by demagoguery and laziness."

Roth told reporters in Berlin this was his personal view of Farage, who was first elected to the assembly in 1999. But he said it also applied to nationalists and populists in general, who he accused of trying to "divide the country and Europe with lies and hate."

Roth, a member of Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party, said the Brexit Party's rise was the result of a failure to complete Britain's departure from the European Union in recent months.

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