The European Parliament has today backed Christine Lagarde as the next president of the European Central Bank, paving the way for her to become the first woman to hold the post.

MEPs voted 394 in favour, 206 against and with 49 abstentions in the parliament's plenary in Strasbourg.

The European Council appoints the president of the ECB, however it must consult parliament about the choice. 

The European Parliament has no formal powers to veto the candidacy as it is a consultation procedure. 

French MEPs Jordan Bardella, Manon Aubry and Aurore Lalucq criticised Ms Lagarde for not being present during the debate on her appointment in Strasbourg. Mr Bardella described it as deplorable. 

The European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) held a hearing with Ms Lagarde in earlier this month and voted for her candidacy. 

Christine Lagarde will replace Mario Draghi when his term ends on November 1 as it is not renewable. 

Her new role as president of the ECB makes her a key figure in the Eurosystem. She will set monetary policy for the euro area as the ECB's main goal is to maintain price stability in the euro area while preserving the purchasing power of the single currency. 

Ms Lagarde has stated that she intends to maintain continuity with the policy line of her predecessor but also said she is also ready to innovate and change the monetary policy toolbox if necessary. 

Born in Paris in 1956, Christine Lagarde started her career as an international lawyer specialising in labour, competition and mergers and acquisitions.  

But her interests went beyond economics as she was also a former member of the French national team for synchronised swimming. 

Ms Lagarde joined the French government in June 2005 as Minister for Foreign Trade. 

Her career has seen many firsts, including becoming the first woman to hold the post of Finance and Economy Minister of a G7 country. 

For six months in 2008, Ms Lagarde also chaired the ECOFIN Council, which brings together Economics and Finance Ministers of the European Union. 

She also became the first women to become the Managing Director of the IMF when she was appointed in 2011. 

Christine Lagarde served two terms as IMF chief but resigned in September 12 in light of her new role as President of the European Central Bank.

Former Tánaiste and now MEP Frances Fitzgerald said Ms Lagarde's appointment will mean "huge progress for women". 

She also thanked Christine Lagarde - in her role in the IMF - for all the help she gave Ireland during "difficult years of the financial crisis". 

Ms Lagarde was also described as the "right person for the job" by Spanish economist and member of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Luis Garicano and the "most honest politician west of Prague" by German MEP, Gunnar Beck.

During the debate in the European Parliament, Christine Lagarde also came under criticism too. 

Italian MEP Pernicola Pedicini said he "doesn't have faith" in Ms Lagarde but he said he will see if change happens under her watch and evaluate the situation after. 

New MEP and member of the National Rally in France, Jordan Bardella said the ECB is the only central bank in the world making fighting inflation its obsession. 

He said claimed that Ms Lagarde has no interests in people but only the elite.