Updated | David-Maria Sassoli elected European Parliament president

Italian lawmaker David-Maria Sassoli with the centre-left Socialists and Democrats has been elected president of the European Parliament for the next two and a half years with 345 votes

 David-Maria Sassoli with the centre-left Socialists and Democrats has been elected the president of the European Parliament for the next two and half years
David-Maria Sassoli with the centre-left Socialists and Democrats has been elected the president of the European Parliament for the next two and half years

Updated at 1:20pm

Italian lawmaker David-Maria Sassoli with the centre-left Socialists and Democrats has been elected president of the European Parliament for the next two and half years.

Sassoli obtained 345 votes, gaining 25 votes during the second ballet, securing the absolute majority needed.

Czech lawmaker Jan Zahradil, with the eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists bloc, came in second with 160 votes, while German Greens candidate Ska Keller came in third with 119 votes. Spain's Sira Rego with the United Left who got 43 votes placed fourth.

Earlier 

Newly sworn-in MEPs have begun the process of electing the president of the European Parliament for the next two and a half years.

Socialists and Democrats candidate David-Maria Sassoli obtained 325 votes, in the first round of voting, by far the largest amount, and just seven short of the absolute majority required to be elected.

Czech lawmaker Jan Zahradil, with the eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists bloc, came in second with 162 votes, while German Greens candidate Ska Keller came in third with 133. Spain's Sira Rego with the United Left who got 42 votes placed fourth.

The second ballot vote will take place at 11:40am, with results announced later on, if no candidate is elected with a majority, the parliament will proceed to vote for the third time.

The vote comes a day after an agreement reached by the EU's 28 national leaders on filling the bloc's top jobs that saw German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen nominated as the next European Commission president, despite not being a lead candidate picked by one of the blocs in Parliament.

Von der Leyen the new head of the bloc's executive, is expected to travel to the French city of Strasbourg, where the European Parliament sits, in the afternoon on Wednesday to attend the session and likely try to win over support for her nomination as the head of the EU's executive arm.

More in Europe