Former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, a fixture of European politics for the past 25 years, won the backing of Europe’s centre-right parties on Friday to be their candidate for European Commission president.
Juncker, who lost office last year after 18 years as prime minister, beat French rival Michel Barnier, the EU’s regulation chief, to become the European People’s Party (EPP) top candidate for the European Parliament elections in May.
A first tally of votes among EPP delegates, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a party congress held in Dublin, showed Juncker securing 382 votes to Barnier’s 245.
It puts Juncker, 59 and one of the region’s most-experienced deal brokers, in contention for the EU’s most influential job, with oversight on legislation affecting 500 million Europeans.
While Juncker is a consummate dealer in the world of Brussels and European politics, he is also a divisive figure. As chairman of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers d