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New EU Parliament set to German center-left politician Martin Schulz as speaker

The European Parliament is electing its new president, with German center-left politician Martin Schulz the clear front-runner.

The legislature held its constituting session Tuesday, about six weeks after voters handed almost one in three seats to parties seeking less from Europe, in a show of distrust with how the 28-nation bloc is run.

Schulz, who also served as president of the Parliament from 2012 until earlier this year, has the backing of the biggest political groups.

During the ceremonial opening of the five-year term, lawmakers from Britain's euroskeptic, anti-immigration UK Independence Party turned their backs on the assembly while an orchestra performed the European anthem, part of Beethoven's ninth symphony.

Parliament's 751 lawmakers have an important role in shaping EU policies on issues ranging from financial regulation to agriculture subsidies.