The first woman elected for the prestigious post of European premier
The members of the European Parliament decided to swallow their pride and elected Ursula von der Leyen to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission.
Von der Leyen won a total of 383 votes – nine more than required to get the job. She was, nevertheless, forced to rely in part on far-right, Eurosceptic parties.
A slim margin of fewer than 400 votes is generally seen as a weak mandate that will make it difficult to secure legislative majorities for the five-year term.
The European Parliament had shortlisted its preferred candidates for the job and had hoped the council, which brings together the heads of government of the member states, would pick from this selection. But in closed-door meetings, the heads of government presented an entirely different set of candidates.
In an effort to secure enough votes, von der Leyen promised something to everyone.
Was Von der Leyen’s selection undemocratic?
Proponents of the federal model of European democracy certainly think so…