Roberta Metsola has been elected president of the European Parliament, the highest international post ever held by a Maltese national, by a landslide.
Only one round of voting was needed, with Dr Metsola earning the vote of 458 MEPs out of a possible 616, equivalent to 74 per cent of the vote. Due to COVID-19, voting took place electronically through an anonymised system.
Aside from being the first Maltese European Parliament President, she is also the youngest-ever person to hold the role.
The day started with three other candidates vying with Dr Metsola for the position. However, Polish MEP Kosma Zlotowski withdrew his candidacy on Tuesday with no reason was given.
The other candidates were Swedish MEP Alice Bah Kuhnke and Spanish MEP Sira Rego, who came second and third respectively.
Dr Metsola had the backing not just of her own European People’s Party (EPP) parliamentary group – whose Secretary General is fellow Maltese Simon Busuttil – but also that of the rival Socialists and Democrats (S&D), who on Monday night announced it had reached a deal with the EPP to “ensure a stable working majority until 2024 elections”.
During her speech on Tuesday morning before the vote was taken, Dr Metsola listed her priorities, including the modernisation of parliamentary practices, and encouraging diversity and tolerance.
Reacting to the news locally, Prime Minister Robert Abela and Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech have separately congratulated Dr Metsola on the momentous achievement. The President of Malta, George Vella, has also issued a congratulatory statement.