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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 7 July, 2020
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Former journalist David Sassoli elected as European Parliament President

The Italian socialist was the Vice President of the EP in the last term, and is well liked across the chamber.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has elected David-Maria Sassoli as its new president.

David-Maria Sassoli has been an MEP for the centre-left S&D group since 2009, representing Central Italy, and is a member of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party.

Before entering politics in 2009, Sassoli worked as a journalist. He’d contributed to local newspapers, worked as a TV news reporter and presenter before becoming a deputy director of TG1, Italy’s state-owned broadcaster. 

Ska Keller of the Greens; Sira Rego for the GUE (a left-wing group); and Jan Zahradil for the ECR (the Conservative Party’s group) all ran for the position.

The newly elected 751 MEPs voted this morning for who should replace the outgoing President, Antonio Tajani. In the first round of voting, Sassoli won 325 votes. To win, a candidate must get an absolute majority of the valid votes cast – so 50% plus one (which is 345 out of the 667 voters cast).

France European Parliament Source: Jean-Francois BADIAS

Before announcing the result, Tajani emphasised the independence of the parliament to elect its head, instead of the head being chosen by the European Council or European Commission President.

The Parliament must also approve the nomination of Ursula van der Leyen, who was chosen by the European Council after three days of discussions this weekend.

Addressing the parliament, Keller said that European citizens had “answered the hateful and divisive rhetoric of the far-right… with a pro-European message”, and she thanked them for that.

Keller criticised the “old school, backroom” negotiations where heads of the EU were chosen, saying that citizens wanted to see a change. Keller said that she wanted to be an ambassador for transparency, gender equality, inclusion, and reducing our environmental footprint.

She said that she had lived on the border between Poland and Germany, and could see “the benefits on the ground” of Europe being united and working together.

Rego also spoke of the climate crisis, about fighting anti-fascism, and said that feminism needed to be closer to the heart of the European Union. She said that she would work to create a Europe based on “peace and solidarity” where “no one across Europe is left behind”. 

Sassoli, who was a Vice President in the last mandate, said that Europe needed to remain “united in our diversity and ready to do our absolute best”. 

If you are prepared to place trust in me, [we will] create a parliament that is more sustainable, that is more accessible to citizens, and that is fully respected by institutions.

“The EU can only be strong when the European Parliament is strong.”

Reacting to his election, Sassoli said on Twitter: “It is, said Aldo Moro, to live the time that has been given to us with all its difficulties.”

It is also a question of being courageous and confident. It is precisely in this sense that I welcome my election as President of the European Parliament with confidence and courage. Thank you!

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