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Roberta Metsola becomes 3rd woman, youngest to head European Parliament

Roberta Metsola

Strasbourg, France, January 18: Centre-right Maltese lawmaker Roberta Metsola, chosen Tuesday as only the third woman to head the European Parliament, is viewed as a political moderate despite controversy over her anti-abortion stance.
Elected on the day she turns 43, the politician from the European Union’s smallest nation becomes the youngest president ever to run the chamber.
She takes over at a time of mourning for the legislature as it marks the sudden death last week of its speaker David Sassoli.
Metsola, a member of the biggest parliamentary bloc, the European People’s Party, was already the frontrunner to replace the centre-left Italian parliament chief under a deal struck by the main political groupings.
She is no stranger to the EU’s byzantine corridors of power after serving as Sassoli’s top vice president of the chamber.
“I think we have a convincing candidate: young, female, from a small country” Manfred Weber, the EPP’s parliamentary chief, said.
Metsola’s career has been intertwined with her Mediterranean homeland’s membership of the EU — and her rise to a job usually dominated by lawmakers from bigger powers could help shine the spotlight on often overlooked countries.
As a student, she campaigned for the successful “Yes” vote when Malta decided to join the EU in 2003. She then headed to the elite College of Europe in Bruges that turns out Eurocrats, and went on to work in Brussels.
She was eventually elected as an MEP on her third try, in 2013, on the ticket of Malta’s Nationalist Party.
“It took me almost 10 years to become a member of the European Parliament. I could have given up,” the mother of four sons wrote. (AFP)

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