After one round of voting in Strasbourg on Tuesday morning, Malta’s Roberta Metsola has been elected President of the European Parliament.
The appointment will be a memorable birthday present for Metsola, who turns 43 today and is the youngest MEP elected to president. She is a member of the centre-right European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) – Parliament’s largest party. She is a lawyer by training and has been an MEP since 2013.
Congratulations were quickly issued, including a statement released by George Vella, President of Malta: “This is a very important achievement for our country, which has time and time again proved that if united, our size and geography pose no obstacle to vision and commitment.”
The President directs the activities of Parliament and its bodies and presides over parliamentary proceedings. As President, Metsola will open and close debates and put items up for a vote. Parliament sits monthly in Strasbourg in a four-day part-session. Brussels also hosts partial sessions.
The European People’s Party (EPP) takes a conservative stance on various European issues, such as fighting cybercrime and controlling Europe’s borders but providing asylum to those in need.
Metsola has been described as a solid supporter of EPP priorities although is against abortion, something the EPP supports. Malta is the only EU Member State banning abortion.
About the election
Metsola ran against two other candidates to become president, following the death of President David Sassoli last week.
If no candidate has 51% of the vote after three rounds of voting, the two candidates with the most votes proceed to a winner-takes-all fourth round. According to European Parliament rules, in the event of a tie during a fourth round, the oldest candidate is named president.
However, by Tuesday’s vote, several European Parliament watchers predicted Metsola was all but assured victory, according to several media accounts.
The following three candidates also ran for Parliament’s top spot: Alice Kuhnke, a member of the Group of Greens (European Free Alliance) from Sweden and Sira Rego, a member of The Left from Spain. A fourth candidate, Kosma Zlotowski, a member of the Conservatives and Reformists Group, from Poland, pulled out of the race Tuesday morning.
Metsola is married to Ukko Metsola, from Finland. They have four boys.