The presidency, which was being nominated by four candidates, has become vacant after the death of former EP chief David Sassoli last week, Euronews reported. Metsolová (43), a candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political faction in the European Parliament, has been the interim head of the EU legislature since Sassoli’s sudden death on 11 January.
Due to the pandemic situation, the vote took place at a distance. An absolute majority of valid votes cast in a secret ballot was required to elect a new chairman, ie 50 percent plus one vote. 616 deputies cast their votes. If such a quorum were not reached, a second round of elections would take place.
Metsol’s candidacy was also supported by the other two most numerous groups in the EP – the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the Liberal Group Let’s Renew Europe (RE) – so that its victory was already considered almost certain. She thus became the third woman at the head of the European Parliament, after the Frenchwoman Simone Veil (in office 1979-1982) and Nicole Fontaine (1999-2002).
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Source: SITA / AP Photo / Jean-Francois Badias
In addition to Roberta Metsolova, Swedish MEP Alice Bahová Kuhnke, Polish MEP Kosma Zlotowski and Sira Reg from Spain also ran for the presidency. According to the EP’s Rules of Procedure, candidates for the post of President may be nominated by one of the political groups or by at least one twentieth of all legislators, which currently represents 36 Members.
Profile of Roberta Metsolova
Roberta Tedesco Triccas was born on January 18, 1979, in the seaside town of Saint Julian’s, Malta. She studied law at the University of Malta (L-Universita ta Malta) in Msida. She continued her studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Already during her studies, she was politically active when she served as Secretary General of the European Democratic Students.
Prior to her election to the European Parliament, she worked as a lawyer specializing in European law. She has worked as the Legal and Judicial Cooperation Attaché and Head of the Justice and Home Affairs Unit of the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union and as Legal Adviser in the European External Action Service (EEAS).
She unsuccessfully applied for a seat in the European Union legislature in 2004 and 2009. This year, together with her Finnish husband Ukk Metsolo, they became the first candidate couple from different countries. However, only the third attempt in 2013 was successful. She was one of the first Maltese women to join the EP.
She was re-elected to the European Legislature in 2014 and 2019. In November 2020, she became the first Vice-President of the EP and, following the death of David Sassoli, took over the position of interim President of the European Parliament on 11 January 2022.
Roberta Metsolová, as a candidate for the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political faction in the European Parliament, was considered the favorite of the EP President’s election. Last October, she won the confidence of a majority of members of the People’s Party and thus became an official candidate for the post. “I will work hard to build bridges by pushing important legislation and bringing decisions closer to the people in the Member States.” Maltese MEP said after her election.
The mother of four sons, Roberta Metsolová, became the youngest president in the history of the European Parliament and only its third president in history. For the first time in the history of the European Union, two key EU institutions – the European Commission and the European Parliament – will lead women: the head of the European Commission is currently Ursula von der Leyen. The last female head of the European Parliament was French MEP Nicole Fontaine, also from the People’s Party, whose term ended in January 2002. She was headed by Simone Veil of France from 1979 to 1982.