Less democratic than Bonaparte

The new office of European President has been filled by a cabal of national politicians with the result that Herman van Rompuy, Belgium's Prime Minister, has been "elected."

It's worth noting just how undemocratic this choice is.

When Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to declare himself the First Consul of France (and dictator of most of what is now the European Union), he held a plebiscite. If he had lost, he would have been finished. Unlike the Lisbon Treaty.

True there were no alternative candidates allowed. Also true, I doubt if anyone would seriously argue the voting was "free and fair." But there was at least the possibilty that a protest could be made.

Not with Mr van Rompuy.

If Belgium's Prime Minister were remotely concerned with the problem that he was chosen by fewer than 27 people out the E.U.'s 500 million citizens, he would refuse the post or insist on an election.

I've started a group on Facebook called "He's not my (European) President" to call for the post to be filled by one of two methods: either a proper electoral college, such as that used in U.S. presidential elections, or one person one vote across the whole of the E.U.. The French presidential election system would seem eminently reasonable, although if I were Belgian or Maltese, I might prefer a U.S.-style solution.

We've got a European head of state now. I don't see why it needs to be selected by a less democratic process than that for China or Iran.