It took four rounds to elect the new president, the maximum allowed by European Parliament rules. It came down to a final battle between Italians. The new president will be Antonio Tajani, of the People’s Party, who was elected by a wide margin, with 351 votes against 282 for Gianni Pittella, of the Socialists and Democrats.
It is the first time since 1979 that it took so long to reach the final result. In the past, there had always been a prior agreement among the main groups. Since 2014, the European Parliament has changed, with the mass arrival in power of eurosceptic representatives of the extreme right.
Even in the third round, Tajani was leading with 291 votes, followed closely by Pittella (199). The other aspirants did not quit until the third round: the Belgian Helga Stevens of the conservative ECR, the British Jean Lambert of the Green Party, Eleonora Forenza of the GUE (who earned three votes between the second and third round) and the Romanian Laurentiu Rebega, of the far-right coalition (National Front, Northern League).