The nomination on Thursday of Manfred Weber as the European People’s Party (EPP) lead candidate for next May’s European election brought smiles to Greece's center-right main opposition New Democracy (ND), as ND president Kyriakos Mitsotakis was one of two European politicians last month who signed the former's official candidacy.
Mitsotakis, according to reports in Athens, considers the position of his poll-leading party within Europe's main centre-right block as more prominent. Conversely, ND and Mitsotakis maintain that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his radical leftist SYRIZA are an "orphan" party, in terms of European political groupings.
Weber, who hails from Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), a long-time partner of the Angela Merkel's ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is the frontrunner for European Commission president, as the EPP is the largest group in the European Parliament and is forecast to keep its lead after the May election.
"We backed Mr. Weber, because he is a friend of ours," ND MEP and former minister Manolis Kefaloyannis said, reminding that the Bavarian politician and the EPP campaigned for the naming of a hall at European Parliament after late Greek prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, the father of Kyriakos Mitsotakis.