Latvian candidate Muižnieks fails in bid to become EU Ombudsman

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Latvia's Nils Muižnieks failed in his bid to become a new Ombudsman for the European Union after votes in the European Parliament December 17 and 18.

In first-round voting on December 17, Muižnieks, who served as the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights between 2012 and 2018, came last out of the five contenders with 47 votes, and so dropped out of the subsequent rounds of voting.

Eventually on December 18 Emily O'Reilly of Ireland was given the mandate in a third round of voting to continue in the role she has already filled for six years.

The European Ombudsman conducts inquiries into cases of maladministration by EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, acting on his or her own initiative or on the basis of complaints from EU citizens. Every year, the Ombudsman submits a report to Parliament on the outcome of their enquiries.

The Ombudsman is elected by the Parliament at the start of each parliamentary term. The current European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, was elected in July 2013 and was re-elected in December 2014 for a five-year term.

To be accepted in the selection process, a candidate must have the support of at least 40 MEPs from at least two EU Member States. Those declared admissible have to present their priorities in a hearing to be held by the Committee on Petitions. The European Parliament elects the new Ombudsman by secret ballot, so it is not possible to say who voted for whom unless MEPs volunteer the information themselves.

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