Antonio Tajani elected as European Parliament’s new president

January 18, 2017 7:30 am

Outgoing European Parliament President Martin Schulz (R) congratulates newly elected European Parliament President in Strasbourg, eastern France, on January 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Antonio Tajani of the European People’s Party (EPP) has been elected as the European Parliament’s new president.
The 63-year-old Italian defeated another Italian, S&D socialist Gianni Pitella, on Tuesday and is set to replace Germany’s Martin Schulz.
In the past, Tajani served as the spokesman for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and as a European commissioner.
The battle among the two Italians was won by Tajani on a vote of 351-282 in the decisive final round, which only the top two candidates managed to enter.
Before voting began, the EEP, the largest group in the block’s legislature, formed a coalition with the ALDE liberals, that gave Tajani the required lead over Pittella.

Members of the European Parliament take part in a plenary session marking the election of the assembly’s new President in Strasbourg, eastern France, on January 17, 2016. (Photos by AFP)

“This was as democratic process and as I said today, I will be the president of all, I will respect all members of parliament and all groups,” said Tajani.
“We must devote our attention to all those who are in tough living conditions,” he added while giving a short acceptance speech, during which he also dedicated his victory to the victims of a deadly August earthquake in central Italy and all those injured by terrorism.
In a statement issued to congratulate Tajani, Pittella noted that it had been some time since the European Parliament had elected a president “in a fully transparent and open competition without any pre-arranged deals.” 
“Today, the political landscape in the European Parliament is dramatically changed with the birth of a new conservative block. We will constructively oppose this block,” added Pittella.
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