Emily O’Reilly is well placed to secure a second term as European Ombudsman after comfortably topping the first round of voting on Tuesday (17 December).
The Irish incumbent topped the first ballot among MEPs taking 240 votes, well ahead of the Estonian Julia Laffranque on 162. The other three candidates, which included former liberal MEP Cecilia Wikström, took 187 votes, while 103 abstained.
However, the winning candidate requires an absolute majority in the European Parliament and a second and possibly third ballot will be held on Wednesday.
O’Reilly has ruffled feathers as the EU’s ‘citizens’ champion’ since taking office in 2013, most notably taking on the European Commission over its transparency rules. She took aim at former Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s move, months after leaving office, to a lobbying role at Goldman Sachs, and launched a formal inquiry into the controversial appointment of Martin Selmayr as Secretary-General of the Commission last year.