European Parliament elects Italy’s David-Maria Sassoli as new president

David-Maria Sassoli, a center-left Italian lawmaker, was elected as the new president of the European Parliament. The vote came amid tensions over other nominations to the EU’s top jobs, which are still pending approval.

The European Parliament filled its top EU post on Wednesday, with lawmakers electing Italy’s David-Maria Sassoli as the new president of the assembly.

Sassoli, a lawmaker with the center-left Socialists and Democrats bloc (S&D) secured an absolute majority with 345 votes in the second round of voting. 

Czech lawmaker Jan Zahradil, with the euroskeptic European Conservatives and Reformists bloc, came in second followed by German Greens candidate Ska Keller and Spain’s Sira Rego who came in last.

Newly-elected MEPs, who had their inaugural session on Tuesday, voted in a secret ballot to select the new president who will serve a two-and-a-half year term.

The vote comes on the heels of a difficult agreement reached by the EU’s 28 national leaders on filling the bloc’s top jobs that saw German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen nominated as the next European Commission president, even though she was not a lead candidate picked by one of the blocs in Parliament.

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