PN MEP Robert Metsola has been chosen as the European People’s Party candidate for the European Parliament President election scheduled for January.  The EPP chose Metsola through a vote, putting her in a prime position to potentially replace current President David Sassoli.

Metsola received 112 votes in the first round of the group’s internal election. Dutch MEP Ester de Lange got 44 votes while 18 MEPs voted for Austrian MEP Othmar Karas.

“I’m truly honoured to have been given a strong mandate by the EPP group to be our family’s candidate for president of the European Parliament,” Metsola said in her first reaction during a news conference alongside EPP leader Manfred Weber.

“The second half of this legislature will be critical for Europe – I will work hard to keep building bridges in this House as we work together in pushing forward important legislative files and bringing decision-making closer to people in every member state,” she added.

If elected, Metsola would be the first Maltese official to win one of the EU’s top jobs.

“It’s about the institution, it’s not about party politics at all,” Weber told reporters. “Our candidate represents really the majority opinion — I would call it the Ursula von der Leyen majority,” he added, referencing the current European Commission president.