EU lawmakers are set to vote for the next president of the European Parliament, seeking a successor to Martin Schulz, who is leaving Brussels for a return to German politics.
The showdown has no clear front-runner and is expected to last several rounds. One of seven candidates withdrew at the last minute.
In previous years, the center-right European People's Party (EPP) and the center-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) have shared the presidency by supporting each other's top candidate for 2 1/2 years each.
This time, the EPP wants to see its candidate, Antonio Tajani of Italy, elected, while the S&D is pulling for its own Italian candidate, Gianni Pittella.
In the first three rounds of voting, a candidate needs a simple majority to be elected as president of parliament. In a fourth round, victory goes to the candidate who receives the most votes.
With reporting by dpa