For the first time ever, the next president of the EPP-ED group will be elected by means of three rounds of secret ballot elections rather than by acclamation, which has hitherto always been the case. There are four contenders to succeed Hans-Gert Pottering (CDU, Germany), who is standing for the position of president of the European Parliament.

And so, in Brussels on 9 January, the 277 members of the majority group in the assembly will elect their next president for the two and a half year legislature. The front runner is Joseph Daul (UMP, France), Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development as well as President of the Conference of Parliamentary Committee Chairmen. Pottering, in December, gave the 60-year-old Daul his personal backing. In general, he has the support of the German MEPs, although some are supporting the Austrian Othmar Karas (OVP), the current Vice-President and treasurer of the EPP-ED. Aged 49, Karas is a member of the Economic and Monetary...

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