Maltese conservative lawyer Roberta Metsola on Jan. 18 became the youngest ever president of the European Parliament.
Members of the European Parliament (MEP) elected Metsola to the top position with 458 out of 690 votes in the first voting round, among three candidates.
Polish MEP Kosma Złotowski withdrew his candidacy at the beginning of the proceedings, bringing the number of candidates down to three.
Metsola, 43, will lead the Parliament until 2024.
Metsola, a member of the center-right European People’s Party, also became the first woman in the role for 20 years and the third after Simone Veil and Nicole Fontaine.
Metsola became the First Vice President in November 2020, then served as the acting president after Sassoli died on Jan. 11 due to a serious illness.
“The first thing I would like to do as President is to think about David Sassoli’s legacy: he was a fighter; he fought for Europe and for us, for this Parliament… I will honor David Sassoli as President by always standing up for Europe, for our common values of democracy, dignity, justice, solidarity, equality, the rule of law, and fundamental rights,” Metsola said in an a speech immediately after being elected.
Metsola has a record of being anti-abortion as Malta is the only member state of the European Union to have a complete ban on the procedure.
However, she said that she will represent the European Parliament’s position on sexual and reproductive health instead of her own.
Metsola has also said that she supports LGBTQIA+ rights.
“You can count on me to represent the European values our House stands for,” Metsola said.
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