Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola has been chosen among her centre-right EPP peers as the party’s sole candidate for the election to the post of European Parliament President.
She won the contest against Austrian MEP Othmar Karas, 63, and Dutch MEP Esther de Lange, 46.
Metsola’s victory was resounding, securing a strong 112 votes, with de Lange at 44 and Karas third on 18.
Fellow MEP David Casa and EPP Chair Manfred Weber were among the first to celebrate the announcement on social media. Casa had resigned his post as Quaestor of the European Parliament to allow Metsola the opportunity to run for the post.
“I want to help get people in our member states to believe in Europe,” Metsola had told fellow MEPs when confirming her candidacy. First elected to the European Parliament in 2013, Metsola was one of Malta’s first female MEPs and has become one of the EPP and Parliament’s point people on migration.
If Metsola does sweep into the Parliament presidency, it would be the first time a Maltese national had secured one of the EU’s top jobs. It would also represent a significant departure for the Parliament, which has normally selected presidents from large EU countries like Germany or France, or from founding members like the Netherlands. Malta, a country with only around 515,000 people that joined the EU in 2004, is neither. Sassoli and his predecessor, Antonio Tajani, are both Italian.