BRUSSELS -- EU lawmakers have elected Italian center-right candidate Antonio Tajani as the next president of the European Parliament -- replacing Martin Schulz, who is leaving Brussels for a return to German politics.
Tajani emerged as the winner after four rounds of voting on January 17, beating his compatriot Gianni Pittella from the center-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in a 351-282 final ballot.
The showdown had no clear front-runner.
Six candidates from various political factions ran for the post in the three first rounds.
In previous years, the center-right European People's Party (EPP) and the S&D have shared the presidency by supporting each other's top candidate for 2 1/2 years each.
Tajani, who is considered close to Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has previously served as vice president of the European Parliament.
He also served as a European commissioner from 2008 to 2014.