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German socialist Martin Schulz elected EU Parliament chief

German socialst Martin Schulz replaces Polish Prime minister Jerzy Buzek as head of European Parliament with 387 out of 670 votes

AFP , Tuesday 17 Jan 2012
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Fiery German socialist Martin Schulz was elected as expected to head the European Parliament on Tuesday, replacing outgoing conservative former Polish premier Jerzy Buzek.

Schulz won 387 of 670 votes, including those of the parliament's biggest group, the European People's Party (EPP), which had agreed to share at mid-term the five-year president's mandate with the Socialists and Democrats.

Also running for the top job were British MEPs Diana Wallis of the centrist Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), who won 141 votes, and Nirj Deva of the eurosceptic conservative ECR group, who won 142 votes.

Schulz, 56, is a longtime politician who joined Germany's SPD at the age of 18 and was elected to the European Parliament in 1994. He took the helm of the Socialist group in 2004.

He made a name in 2003 in a row at the assembly with Silvio Berlusconi.

The then Italian premier said Schulz, who had vexed Berlusconi in questions over his media empire, would be perfect in the film role of a "kapo," a prisoner who worked for the Nazis in concentration camps.

The incident triggered a diplomatic spat between Italy and Germany.

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