The first act of the newly-elected European Parliament when it meets on 1 July will be to elect its President. The acting President, Gianni Pittella, who has been re-elected to Parliament, will preside over the election of the new President, under Rule 14 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
Nomination of candidates for the presidency and election procedure
Candidates for the presidency may be proposed either by a political group or by a minimum of forty MEPs (Rule 15 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure) until Monday evening before the session. The election is held by secret ballot. In this special election, MEPs vote by marking the name of the candidate from the list on a paper ballot and placing it in a ballot box. The process is overseen by eight tellers, chosen by lot from among MEPs.
To be elected, a candidate must win an absolute majority of the valid votes cast, i.e. 50 per cent plus one (Rule 16). Blank or spoiled ballots do not count in calculating the majority required.
If no candidate is elected at the first ballot, the same or other candidates can be nominated for a second round of voting under the same conditions. This can be repeated in a third round if necessary, again with the same rules.
If no-one is elected at the third ballot, the two highest-scoring candidates in that round proceed to a fourth ballot, where the one receiving the greater number of votes wins. (Should there be a tie at this stage, the older candidate is declared the winner).
The newly-elected President then takes the chair and is entitled to make an opening address (though he or she may also choose to make just a few short remarks, with a more formal speech at a later date), before presiding over the election of the Vice-Presidents and Quaestors.
Duties of the President
The President chairs the plenary sittings of Parliament, the Conference of the Presidents of Political Groups and the Bureau of Parliament (made up of the President and the 14 Vice-Presidents, plus the Quaestors in an advisory capacity).
The President is responsible for the application of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament, and, to this end, oversees all the activities of Parliament and its bodies.
The President represents Parliament in all legal matters.
The President addresses the European Council prior to each of its meetings, stating Parliament's views on the agenda items as part of a debate with the heads of state and government.
The President represents Parliament in its international relations, and, in this connection, undertakes official visits within and outside the EU.
The President signs the EU budget into being following Parliament's vote on it at the second reading. During the procedure, the President chairs the EP/Council conciliation delegations.
The President may, under the co-decision procedure, chair the EP/Council Conciliation Committee. Jointly with the President-in-Office of the Council, the President signs all legislative acts adopted by co-decision.
Fourteen Vice-Presidents and five Quaestors
Candidates for the posts of Vice-President and Quaestor can also be chosen either by a political group or by at least 40 Members, nominating them after the elections of the EP President. The first ballot of vice-presidential election is also held using a paper-based secret ballot, with a single ballot paper. Candidates must obtain the support of an absolute majority of those casting valid ballots, with a second round held under the same conditions if all 14 posts are not filled on the first round. A third round can then be held if there are still vacancies, at which point a relative majority is enough for election to one of the remaining positions. The order in which candidates are elected determines the order of precedence (Rule 17). If the number of candidates proposed is the same as the number of positions to be filled - 14 - then they will be elected by acclamation, with a vote held simply to determine the order of precedence. A similar procedure is followed for the election of the Quaestors (Rule 18).
Vice-Presidents can replace the President in performing his duties when necessary, including chairing plenary sittings. (Rule 23) They are also members of the Bureau, the body responsible for all administrative, staff and organisational matters of the Parliament. The five Quaestors deal with administrative matters directly affecting MEPs themselves (Rule 28).
Presidents of the European Parliament 1952 to 1979
1952 - 1954 Paul-Henri SPAAK (Soc, BE)
1954 Alcide DE GASPERI (CD, IT)
1954 - 1956 Giuseppe PELLA (CD, IT)
1956 - 1958 Hans FURLER (CD, DE)
1958 - 1960 Robert SCHUMAN (CD, FR)
1960 - 1962 Hans FURLER (CD, DE)
1962 - 1964 Gaetano MARTINO (L, IT)
1964 - 1965 Jean DUVIEUSART (CD, BE)
1965 - 1966 Victor LEEMANS (CD, BE)
1966 - 1969 Alain POHER (CD, FR)
1969 - 1971 Mario SCELBA (CD, IT)
1971 - 1973 Walter BEHRENDT (Soc, DE)
1973 - 1975 Cornelis BERKHOUWER (L, NL)
1975 - 1977 Georges SPENALE (Soc, FR)
1977 - 1979 Emilio COLOMBO (CD, IT)
Presidents of the directly elected European Parliament since 1979
Session of July 1979: Simone VEIL (LDR, FR)
- elected on the second ballot with 192 votes (votes cast: 377)
Session of January 1982: Pieter DANKERT (PES, NL)
- elected on the fourth ballot with 191 votes (votes cast: 366)
Session of July 1984: Pierre PFLIMLIN (EPP, FR)
- elected on the second ballot with 221 votes (votes cast: 403)
Session of January 1987: Lord (Henry) PLUMB (ED, UK)
- elected on the third ballot with 241 votes (votes cast: 477)
Session of July 1989: Enrique Baron CRESPO (PES, ES)
- elected on the first ballot with 301 votes (votes cast: 475)
Session of January 1992: Egon KLEPSCH (EPP, DE)
- elected on the first ballot with 253 votes (votes cast: 446)
Session of July 1994: Klaus HÄNSCH (PES, DE)
- elected on the first ballot with 365 votes (votes cast: 452)
Session of January 1997: Jose Maria GIL ROBLES (EPP, ES)
- elected on the first ballot with 338 votes (votes cast: 515)
Session of July 1999: Nicole FONTAINE (EPP-ED, FR)
- elected on the first ballot with 306 votes (votes cast: 555)
Session of January 2002: Pat COX (ELDR, IE)
- elected on the third ballot with 298 votes (votes cast: 568)
Session of July 2004: Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (PES, ES)
- elected on the first ballot with 388 votes (votes cast: 647)
Session of January 2007: Hans-Gert POETTERING (EPP-ED, DE)
- elected on the first ballot with 450 votes (votes cast: 689)
Session of July 2009: Jerzy BUZEK (EPP, PL)
- elected on the first ballot with 555 votes (votes cast: 644)
Session of January 2012: Martin SCHULZ (S&D, DE)
- elected on the first ballot with 387 votes (votes cast: 670)