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Von der Leyen becomes EU Commission head after MEPs vote

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Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has been narrowly elected president of the EU Commission following a secret ballot among MEPs.

The centre-right defence minister will replace Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November.

She secured the backing of more than half of the members of the European parliament on Tuesday evening.

The Commission drafts EU laws, enforces EU rules and has the power to impose fines on member states if necessary.

“It is a big responsibility and my work starts now,” Mrs von der Leyen said in a speech immediately after the vote. “Let us work together constructively.”

She was confirmed by a margin of 383 votes to 327. She needed 374 MEPs to back her out of 747 lawmakers in total.

In all, 751 were elected in May, but four MEPs were absent for the vote.

Born in Brussels, Mrs von der Leyen has seven children and trained as a gynaecologist before entering politics.

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