Merkel’s Ally Pushes for Last-Minute Votes to Take Top EU Job

Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg, 15.07.2019

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Ursula von der Leyen's two-week dash to secure the most powerful policy-making job in the European Union may end with a photo finish. [...]

At least half of the 153 Socialist members will probably support von der Leyen, which would help her surpass the needed majority of 376 votes, according to officials from the faction who asked not to be identified. Von der Leyen's aides expect her to receive about 400 votes, according to a person familiar with their thinking.

"If you vote her down, what's the alternative?" said Janis Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the European Policy Centre in Brussels.

Von der Leyen's candidacy has ruffled feathers in the parliament because she was not one of the official contenders who campaigned in May's EU elections and because Socialists in the assembly felt they got a raw deal from the back-room dealing that saw her nominated. If her appointment were to be shot down it would mean an unprecedented standoff between lawmakers and heads of government and plunge the bloc into an administrative crisis.

"It's almost too awful to contemplate and, for her detractors, potentially counterproductive were EU leaders to nominate someone even less palatable," Emmanouilidis said. [...]

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