Svein Arne Hansen of Norway, the new European Athletics President  ©European Athletics

Svein Arne Hansen, narrowly beaten in the last European Athletics Presidential election, achieved his aim at the Congress in Bled today as he was voted in as replacement for the outgoing Hansjörg Wirz, who has been in office since 1999.

Hansen received 26 of the 50 Member Federation votes at the EA Congress in Bled, Slovenia, with Jean Gracia of France, who was later re-elected as one of three vice-presidents, polling 19 and Antti Pihlakoski of Finland receiving five votes.

The ebullient 68-year-old Norwegian, who has his own stamp dealing business, was in confident mood before the election,and his optimism proved well founded.

"I am very touched by the support of the Congress," Hansen said after being elected. "I want to thank (outgoing President) Hansjorg Wirz for his good work in positioning European Athletics for the future. I will thank him and other candidates more fully at a later time."

Both candidates for this summer's IAAF Presidency tweeted their congratulations to the new President.

"Congratulations to Svein Arne Hansen on the election to @EuroAthletics President – thanks also to Hansjörg Wirz for 16 years of service," said Coe, while Bubka's Twitter comment read: New @EuroAthletics President elected. Congrats Svein Arne Hansen. Thanks to candidates & HJ Wirz for his great service @Norsk_Friidrett

Wirz will officially hand over to Hansen at the end of the Congress after 16 years of leading the organisation.

The new President will serve a four-year term, but will need, for the first time, to give up any other professional commitment in order to take the job up on a full-time paid role.
Svein Arne Hansen is congratulated on being elected European Athleics President by Hansjörg Wirz, who had held the post for 16 years
Svein Arne Hansen is congratulated on being elected European Athleics President by Hansjörg Wirz, who had held the post for 16 years ©European Athletics

Dobrimir Karamarinov of Bulgaria, with 37 votes,and Frank Hensel of Germnay, with 33, were elected as the two other vice-presidnts with Gracia, who polled 32 votes.

Hansen, who lost by 28-22 to Wirz in 2011, has run for the European Athletics Presidency this year on a ticket of making “significant, sometimes difficult changes”.

Now he has his opportunity.

He has targeted five key areas for change in his manifesto Leading Change – boosting Member Federations, energising and rewarding athletes, consolidating and reinvigorating commercial activity, re-casting the competition schedule and bringing more recreational runners into the International Federation’s orbit.

The 13 European Athletics Council members elected  were: Pihlakoski with 44 votes, Portugal's Jorge Salcedo 43, Czech Republic's Libor Varhanik 43, Greece's Dimakos Panagiotis 40, Spain's Jose Luis de Carlos 38, Hungary's Marton Gyulai 37, The Netherlands Sylvia Barlag 36, Sweden's Toralf Nilsson 34, Slovenia's Gregor Bencina 33, Italy's Alfio Giomi 32, Romania's Gabriela Szabo 32, Estonia's Erich Teigamagi 32 and Turkey's Yaras Salih Munir 32.

Elsewhere at the Congress, outgoing vice-president Karel Pilny of Czech Republic was awarded the status of Honorary Council member.

Italy's outgoing Council member Francesco Arese received the European Athletics Plaque of Merit.

Outgoing Council member Erki Nool of Estonia received the European Athletics Golden Pin.

The Czech Republic's Frantisek Fojt, France's Pierre Weiss and Britain's Peter Marlow were awarded the European Athletics Plaque of Merit.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Milan Pedalo, Germany's Stefan Kuerten, Lithuania's Eimantas Skrabulis, Moldova's Serghei Donets, Slovenia's Marjan Hudej and Serbia's Ivica Matijevic were awarded the European Athletics Golden Pin.

The Congress agreed that Vilnius in Lithuania will host the 2017 European Athletics Congress.

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April 2015:
 Hansen, Gracia and Pihlakoski on their marks as European Athletics Congress votes on new President
April 2015: Exclusive: Lack of transparency over European Sport Championships, says Hansen
April 2015: Exclusive: European Athletics President refuses to confirm sport will be in 2019 European Games
April 2015: Wirz leaving European Athletics Presidency with a bang not a whimper
March 2015: Three candidates for European Athletics Presidency to present manifestos