Germany’s outgoing Defence Minister and a long-standing member of the German cabinet, Ursula von der Leyen was elected the first female President of the European Commission. She will replace Jean-Claude Juncker, who has been serving as the President since 2014 and will step down on 31st October.
At a secret ballot held in Strasbourg, France, she won 383 votes while there were 327 votes against her and 22 abstentions. She needed a minimum of 374 votes to win the election.
She is the first woman to hold the post and will take office on 1st November.
“The trust you placed in me is confidence you placed in Europe. Your confidence in a united and strong Europe, from east to west, from south to north,” she said in a speech after being elected.
The European Commission plays a primary role in drafting the laws of the European Union and enforcing the rules of the Union.
Who is Ursula von der Leyen?
Born on 8th October 1958 in Brussels, Belgium, Ursula von der Leyen trained as a gynaecologist before becoming involved in politics. She joined the cabinet of Germany in 2005 and has held many posts since. She has been the Minister of Family Affairs and Youth, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, and the Minister of Defence in the German cabinet. She has also been the first woman to hold the position of the Defence Minister of Germany.