German social democrat leader Martin Schulz has been appointed the new president of the European parliament. He replaces Jerzy Buzek.
The clear favourite, Schulz won 387 votes, taking him well over the 336 finishing line.
Even so, it was far from a landslide victory with rival runners, British MEPs Diana Wallis and Nirj Deva, taking just over 140 votes each.
Both had decided to stand in opposition to Schulz after the parliament’s biggest parties struck a deal making it all but inevitable that the centre-left leader would win.
Liberal MEP Diana Wallis, an independent candidate, said: ‘‘We were getting to a position with parliament where the agreement about who is our president was becoming sort of institutionalised. What we call in English a ‘Buggins’s Turn’ – now you, now me, now you, now me. And once it becomes institutionalised, you ask the question: now why do we actually have rules for an election?”
Conservative candidate Deva had heavily criticised the current way of electing the EU parliament’s president prior to the vote.
However, he described the result as a success.
“We are democracies. We should have elections. So what has happened now is that Mr Schulz has been properly elected as authoritative president of the European Parliament, because I challenged him.”
Schulz will hold the office of EU Parliament President for the next two and a half years until elections in 2014.