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Juncker becomes EC presidential candidate of EPP

Up against PES's Martin Schulz, backed by Italy's majority PD

07 March, 16:17
Juncker becomes EC presidential candidate of EPP (ANSA) - Brussels, March 7 - The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) on Friday elected former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker as its European Commission presidential candidate, the EU Christian Democrats said in a statement.

Juncker beat his French rival Michel Barnir by 382 votes against 245 at the EPP congress in Dublin organized ahead of European Parliament elections in May.

The EPP is currently the largest grouping in the European Parliament.

Last month, the rival Party of European Socialists (PES) of which the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) of Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has just become a member, confirmed as its presidential candidate current European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) chose Guy Verhofstadt as their candidate.

The parliamentary group which wins the highest number of seats in May will appoint their candidate as European Commission president.

Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) last month was admitted to the Party of European Socialists.

The PD, the biggest party in the Italian parliament, had previously stayed out of the PES due to differences within its ranks, which include former communists and ex-supporters of the centrist Christian Democrat (DC) party that dominated the country's politics before collapsing in corruption scandals in the 1990s.