Hans-Gert Pöttering has been elected president of the European Parliament. Under a deal struck between the legislative body’s two largest groups, the German Conservative takes over from Spanish Socialist Josep Borrell, for a two and a half year mandate.
Pöttering won a clear majority of the votes cast in the 785-member assembly, defeating three contenders from smaller groups. The Christian Democrat said: “I would like to bring my own contribution towards a democratic European Union which is strong and capable of acting in Europe and the world.”
He stood down last week after seven years as chairman of the centre-right European People’s Party, the largest group in the parliament. He was replaced by French politician Joseph Daul, who is a key supporter of French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Pöttering has vowed to help increase public awareness of the EU assembly and increase its powers through ratification of the embattled EU constitution.