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Weber elected ‘Spitzenkadidat’

November 10th, 2018

Commentators agree that the Hungarian Prime Minister can feel satisfied after the European People’s Party chose Manfred Weber, a Bavarian politician to be its top candidate at next year’s European parliamentary elections and also to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as Chairman of the European Commission.

In the headline of an unsigned report on its homepage, Magyar Narancs writes that Mr Weber is someone who has been ‘cooked’ by PM Orbán. After Mr. Weber voted in favour of the Sargentini report in the European Parliament, the Hungarian Prime Minister did not support the candidacy of the Bavarian to become the EPP candidate at first. After he sided with him, Mr Weber said he wanted to keep Fidesz within the People’s Party. His opponent, former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb, on the other hand, has campaigned for Fidesz to be expelled.

HVG online thinks Mr Weber’s election gives the PM enough reason to feel relieved. Despite his recent critical remarks and his stance in favour of the Sargentini report, Mr Weber is still considered to be a supporter of the Hungarian Prime Minister, hvg.hu suggests.  Mr Weber only had two complaints against the Hungarian government, one concerning the Central European University and another regarding NGOs critical of the government.

On Echo TV, political scientist Ágoston Sámuel Mráz describes Mr Weber as a moderate politician who will be able to reconcile liberals and conservatives within the European People’s Party. The leading pro-government analyst characterises the newly elected EPP Spitzenkandidat as ‘not the most committed Christian Democrat’. Hungary has had negative experience with him, Mráz explains, but supporting him was the best of the compromises at hand. His rival, the former Finnish Premier had no other programme in his campaign than criticising Mr Orbán, Mráz claims, and that programme suffered a painful defeat with four fifths of the delegates voting for Manfred Weber.