BRUSSELS, Jan 19 (Asia Free Press): Maltese lawmaker Roberta Metsola secured overwhelming support to become President of the European Parliament on Tuesday, making her the first woman to hold the post for 20 years, according to media reports.
Metsola succeeds David Sassoli, Italy-based socialist, who died this month, in presiding over the 705-member parliament, which adopts and amends EU legislative proposals and decides on the bloc’s budget, according to Reuters.
Metsola, who campaigned as a student for Malta to become a member of the EU in 2004, said she wants to use her mainly ceremonial role to help the parliament connect better with European citizens.
In a message posted on her Twitter handle, the newly-elected President said, “I want people to believe in Europe. To re-capture that sense of hope & enthusiasm in our project. To stand up for those values that unite us as Europeans”.
“As EU Parliament president, I would defend the assembly’s views on sexual and reproductive health and rights. That includes resolutions calling for all member states to ensure women can get safe access to abortion services, the newly-elected head said while asked for her stance, as Metsola has consistently voted against European Parliament resolutions that call for women to have access to safe abortion,” she added.
A 43-year-old Metsola, been a member of the assembly since 2013 for the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), is the youngest President of the European Parliament in history.
She received 458 votes out of 616 casted votes and defeated two other candidates for the presidential election. No run-off rounds were required after a clean win in the first round.
Sassoli had been due to step down this week as part of a power-sharing deal under which the parliament’s socialist group would make way halfway through the assembly’s five-year term for a candidate from the EPP grouping.
The European Parliament has had only two previous female presidents, Simone Veil and Nicole Fontaine, French, since it became a directly elected assembly in 1979.