Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech have had separate meetings in Strasbourg with Roberta Metsola, hours before she is set to be voted in as president of the European Parliament.

As acting president of the European Parliament, Metsola on Monday greeted Abela along with other heads of government at the Parliament for a memorial ceremony in honour of the late EP president David Sassoli.

"I look forward to seeing Roberta Metsola elected president of the European Parliament," Abela told Times of Malta.

"I am pleased that the government and my party are supporting her bid. We have always been supportive of Maltese people who have the best interest of our country at heart."

Bernard Grech said he felt very proud as the country waits for one of its own to be elected to one of the most influential political positions in the world.

"Just imagine, a Maltese woman, just like one of us, will be on the front lines in her new position," he said.

"I have no doubt she is capable and determined to make us proud."

The vote will take place on Tuesday morning among MEPs. Although there are four candidates, Roberta Metsola is on pole position, enjoying the backing of the biggest grouping - the EPP - and the socialists.  

The socialist group on Monday said it had reached a deal with the EPP "to ensure a stable working majority until the 2024 elections." The socialist S&D group is the EU Parliament's second-biggest after the EPP. The backing of the two groups means Metsola may get elected straight away on the first round on Tuesday morning.

The other candidates are Swedish MEP Alice Bah Kuhnke, representing the Greens, Polish MEP Kosma Złotowski from the European Conservatives and Reformists, and Spanish MEP Sira Rego, a member of The Left.

The four candidates will deliver a short speech marking their vision for the  parliament on Tuesday at 9am.

Metsola is expected to highlight the need for parliamentary reform and for the institution to grow closer to the people. She is expected to speak about the need to bring constructive forces to stick together on the crucial issues and she will likely speak about her Maltese roots.

After the speeches, all MEPs will be asked to vote for their preferred candidate and the first candidate to secure the absolute majority of votes wins the presidency.

Times of Malta will be running a live blog during the election.

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