Antonio Tajani elected as European Parliament President

Antonio Tajani of the European People’s Party Group (EPP) has been elected President of the European Parliament on Tuesday.

Tajani led the first three rounds of voting, but was not able to secure the absolute majority necessary to win earlier in the day, Xinhua news agency reported.

After the gruelling contest, he emerged after defeating Gianni Pittella, leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, in a final fourth voting round, by 351 votes to 282.

A founder of the Forza Italia party, Tajani is former European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and has a reputation for strong commitment to business and deep personal ethics.

At the end of his work at the European Commission, Tajani refused the so-called “golden handshake,” a three-year 468,000-euro (approx. $501,000) payout to former Commissioners intended to help them transition out of the public sector.

He replaces outgoing Socialist President Martin Schulz, whom he thanked for the work he did during his mandate, and will serve a renewable 2.5-year term.