Jan Zahradil (ODS) is interested in being the leader of the Conservatives in the upcoming election, but his chances are not high say critics.
Zahradil wants to win an influential post as a candidate of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) where his ODS within the European Parliament belongs. According to media, however, Zahradil has small chances if the political power distribution in the European Parliament remains the same as it is now.
Leaders of EU member states will elect a new Commission head after the European Parliament elections which take place in May. After that, MEPs must confirm the choice. Most MEPs are pushing for the new head of the European Commission to be a politician who announces his candidacy ahead of the European elections. So the member states cannot propose whoever they would like.
ECR, unlike in 2014, has accepted these conditions but, according to Zahradil, insists that the Commission’s chief should not automatically be one of the so-called lead candidates. According to the ECR, such a candidacy system limits the powers of the member states to choose their own candidate.
Even if Zahradil became a top candidate of the ECR, his chances of eventually becoming president of the European Commission are not high. His faction is now the third largest in the European Parliament, but the main word has the alliance of European People´s Party, socialists and liberals. They have a clear majority of votes.
In addition, the ECR will lose its main pillar due to Brexit – the British conservatives. Question is, whether the ECR will survive after Brexit but according to Zahradil, the distribution of forces will change significantly after the elections. For example, French President Emmanuel Macron is likely to “hunt” members of the current faction and to form his own European political group. Also, it is expected that the current main factions, especially the Socialists, will be weakened in the elections.