The European Parliament is widely expected to elect Conservative Maltese lawmaker Roberta Met solas as president on Tuesday, making her the EU’s first female president in 20 years.
Metsola would succeed Italian socialist David Sassoli in his mostly ceremonial role as chairman of the EU’s 705-member parliament, after he died this month at the age of 65.
In any case, Sassoli would have had to resign this week as part of a power-sharing agreement under which Parliament’s socialist group would step aside halfway through the assembly’s five-year term for a candidate from Metsola’s center-right European People’s Party (EPP).
“It is time for the European Parliament to be led by a woman,” Metsola, 42, said in a Twitter campaign, urging the Assembly to connect with EU citizens beyond the “bubbles” of Brussels and Strasbourg where it meets.
Members expected to elect Metsola president despite her anti-abortion stance
Parliament, which adopts and amends legislative proposals and decides on the EU budget, has had only two female presidents, Simone Veil and most recently Nicole Fontaine, both French, since it became a directly elected assembly in 1979.
Together with Metsola, three other MPs had expressed interest in the presidency before the deadline for nominations at 17.00 (1600 GMT) on Monday.
Sweden’s Alice Bah Kuhnke from the congregation’s group Greens-European Free Alliance, Poland’s Kosma Zlotowski from European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and Sira Rego from Spain, were members of the left group.
The candidates will each give a short presentation on Tuesday morning and then there will be up to four votes by the members of parliament to agree on a winner.
Member of the European Parliament since 2013, Metsola campaigned as a student for Malta to become a member of the EU.
Malta is a Mediterranean archipelago with just over 500,000 inhabitants and became the EU’s smallest member state when it joined the bloc in 2004.