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EU parliament rejects ECB candidate

The EU parliament has narrowly voted against the controversial appointment of a top male nominee to the European Central Bank's advisory board. The vote, however, can still be overridden be EU finance ministers.

A divided European parliament in Strasbourg, France on Thursday rejected ECB nominee Yves Mersch's possible ascension to the bank's six-member board.

Mersch lost the vote by a narrow margin. While 300 members of parliament voted for the Luxembourg lawmaker, 325 rejected his appointment. There were 49 abstentions.

Thursday's result followed an outcry over there not being any women nominated for the top position.

The European parliament's vote acts only as an advisory function and can therefore not block Mersch's nomination. European Union finance ministers are to make the final decision.

Discussions over the number of women in top positions in the public and private sector has become part of an EU-wide discussion about implementing quotas to correct the gender imbalance.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding originally had proposed introducing quotas on company executive boards. Under her proposal, 40 percent of company board members would have to be female. The law would only affect companies listed on the stock exchange. Currently, only 13.7 percent of company board members are women in the EU.

Her initiative failed to garner enough support earlier this week and has been postponed.

kms/ccp (AP, AFP, dpa)