Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s current defence minister, has won the backing of enough Members of the European Parliament to be named the president-elect of the European Commission.
The 60-year old, Brussels-born German, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, received 383 of a possible 733 votes to secure an absolute majority for her candidacy and will now succeed current President Jean-Claude Juncker once his mandate comes to an end on 31 October.
“The risk ahead humbles me, it is a big responsibility,” said von der Leyen, who added that if all of the EU institutions and parties work constructively, a united Europe remains possible.
With the vote, von der Leyen becomes the first woman elected as President of the European Commission.
Results from the vote reveal that von der Leyen, a member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, earned the support of the 182 MEPs from the European People’s Party and the 108 liberals from Renew Europe – numbers that brought her within easy striking distance of the 374 votes needed to gain an absolute majority in the chamber.
The European Conservatives and Reformists, an anti-federalist centre-right group whose largest party in terms of the number of MEPs is Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, are also believed to have thrown their support behind von der Leyen.