AFTER almost a day of voting with no clear majority, the European Parliament finally saw Italian former spokesman for Silvio Berlusconi, Antonio Tajani elected as president to replace Martin Schulz.
This was the most disputed election in the parliament since its inception and it was only at 9pm on January 17 after four votes that Mr Tajani crept across the finishing line with 351 votes out of 718.
The European Parliament is elected for five years, but the term of office for president, vice presidents, quaestors and committee chairs is two-and-a-half years. So the elections are held at the beginning of a parliamentary term and at mid-term.
The election is done using a secret ballot. MEPs mark their preferred candidate on a ballot paper and place the vote in a ballot box, overseen by eight tellers chosen from among MEPs.
A candidate getting an absolute majority of the votes cast (50 per cent + 1) is elected. Blank or spoiled ballot papers are not counted.
If there is no winner after the first ballot, the same candidates or new candidates can be nominated for a second round of voting under the same conditions. This can be repeated a third time if necessary.
If no one is elected at the third ballot, the two highest scoring candidates go to a fourth ballot, where the winner is decided by simple majority. If there is a tie, the older candidate is declared the winner.