German defense minister elected EU Commission president

German defense minister elected EU Commission president
© Greg Nash

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been elected to succeed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in November, according to multiple media outlets.

Von der Leyen, who was narrowly elected following a secret ballot among members of the European Parliament on Tuesday, will be the first woman to serve as president of the Commission.


“The trust you placed in me is confidence you placed in Europe,” von der Leyen said in a speech following the vote, according to the BBC.

“Your confidence in a united and strong Europe, from east to west, from south to north. It is a big responsibility and my work starts now," she added. “Let us work together constructively."

Von der Leyen was confirmed in a 383-327 vote, just over the 374 threshold she needed to secure victory.

A member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union Party, von der Leyen was born and raised in Brussels and served under German Chancellor Angela Merkel as minister of family affairs and youth, minister of labor and social affairs and minister of defense. She was previously considered a favorite to succeed Merkel, who will leave office in 2021.

In a speech earlier in the day, von der Leyen made several pledges, including to push to give the Parliament “right of initiative,” or requiring the Commission to legislate on resolutions from members of the European Parliament, according to the BBC.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his congratulations shortly after the vote.