Spitzenkandidat Race Ends with Manfred Weber’s Nomination
Manfred Weber won 492 of the 621 total votes at today’s European People’s Party (EPP) assembly meeting in Helsinki. Jean-Claude Juncker will put him forward for president of the European Council in next year’s European election, and if the EPP wins, he will fulfill the most important job in the EU.
Weber beat former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb to become the EPP’s Spitzenkandidat. The victory puts him among the frontrunners for the EU’s most influential job, the head of the bloc’s executive.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán has a far more balanced relationship with Weber than he does with the Finnish nominee. Although Weber voted in favor of the Sargentini report, he doesn’t support the exclusion of Fidesz from the EPP.
Viktor Orbán also supported Weber, despite earlier disputes. Pundits say this ‘neither-with-you-nor-without-you’ type of relationship is primarily driven by election mathematics: Weber couldn’t win without the support of Fidesz, one of the biggest parties in the EPP.
Furthermore, the Bavarian politician asks much less of Orbán than Stubbs and only requests that the Hungarian government compromise on the following infringement procedures: the future of Central European University and the state of civil society in Hungary.