Would The European Union Have Its First Female President?

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After 48 hours of intensive debates and controversial backroom horse-trading, the European Union leaders agreed on their nominees for the EU top jobs. 

Two of them are women, the outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk announced on Twitter, highlighting that the European Union reached ''the perfect gender balance.''

German minister of defense, Ursula Von Der Leyen has surprisingly emerged as a candidate for President of the European Commission. The French lawyer Christine Lagarde who currently tops the International Monetary Fund, was nominated for the presidency of the European Central Bank. 

While Christine Lagarde is a well-known name in Brussels and beyond, Ursula Von Der Leyen is not a widely-popular politician outside of her native Germany.

Her unexpected nomination sparked debates all over Europe, and mostly in her home country. The former European Parliament President Martin Schulz, a fellow German, was among the first high profile politicians to publicly criticize her nomination.

She is our weakest minister, tweeted Shulz. The former German defense minister Rupert Scholz echoed Shulz's words saying the current state of the German armed forces is ''catastrophic.''

A mother of seven, Ursula Von Der Leyen has been serving as a German defense minister since 2014. 

Further to the ongoing issues with the military readiness of the German army, Von Der Leyen is now facing an investigation into suspected wrongdoing surrounding the use of outside consulting firms such as Accenture and McKinsey, the German media reported.

In addition to that, Von Der Leyen is heavily criticized in Berlin for approving the refurbishment of the German landmark training ship, the Gorch Fock which ended up costing the German taxpayers more than ten times what was initially agreed.

Ursula Von Der Leyen has never worked for the European institutions before. However, she is not new to Brussels. She was born in the Belgian capital and spent her childhood there. Her father used to work for the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Economic Community, the predecessors of the European Union. 

Before graduating medicine in Hanover to become an ob-gyn, she also attended the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Ursula Von Der Leyen entered politics at the age of 42.

If she receives the approval of a simple majority of the 751 members of the European Parliament, Ursula Von Der Leyen would be the first female President of the European Commission.

Many members of the European Parliament commented that the sole reason Ursula Von Der Leyen and Christine Lagarde were nominated was their gender, not their expertise. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?