The European People’s Party on Wednesday reelected Manfred Weber for a third term as leader of its group in the European Parliament.

The center-right group, the Parliament’s largest bloc, overwhelmingly backed Weber, a vice president of Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU), who was running unopposed. The Bavarian secured 162 out of 173 votes cast, with 11 abstentions. The 178-member group also reelected most of its current vice presidents on Wednesday, including Spanish MEP Esteban González Pons and his Dutch colleague, MEP Esther de Lange.

Weber’s reelection comes at a time when EPP conservatives face one of their lowest points in modern history.

Last week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, one of the EPP’s rising stars, resigned over a corruption probe that has rocked his country’s political establishment. And a week earlier, Germany’s own conservative coalition suffered its worst general election result since the war in the country’s hotly contested federal election. The EPP is now without a single conservative-led government west of Germany.

However, by reelecting Weber, the EPP group also sent a signal that Germany’s conservative tie-up of the CSU and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is still the most powerful conservative party in Europe. And it indicates Weber’s failed attempt to win the European Commission presidency in 2019 had little impact on his image as a bridge-builder within the group. Weber himself announced last month that he would both seek reelection as the group’s leader, while also aiming to become president of the EPP’s EU-wide organization next April, when current EPP President Donald Tusk’s term ends.

A former engineer, Weber was first elected EPP group leader in 2014, before winning reelection in 2016 and 2019, when he ran for Commission president. His home country, Germany, represents the EPP’s largest delegation, with 29 members.

After the vote, Weber said on Twitter he was “grateful” to his EPP colleagues for reelecting him, adding that the EPP was “the driving force of a strong and stable Europe that is close to the people.”





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By Ida

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