Ursula von der Leyen was confirmed as the European Commission president on July 16, becoming the first woman to hold one of the most prestigious positions in the European Union and who will be one of the most prominent faces from the bloc on the world stage.
The European Parliament voted 383-327 with 22 abstentions to approve von der Leyen’s nomination. The confirmation required an absolute majority of 374 votes and the outgoing German defense minister scraped through with barely nine votes to spare in a cliffhanger vote.
“A majority is a majority in politics,” she said when questioned about her narrow escape.
Von der Leyen will replace Jean-Claude Juncker when his term expires at the end of October.
She was put forward as a last-minute candidate by EU leaders as part over an overall appointments package, sidestepping parliamentary wishes. Many legislators felt cold-shouldered and said they would oppose her out of principle, not over personal considerations.