Othmar Karas, a member of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) in the European Parliament, officially announced on Tuesday that he would run for the presidency of the European Parliament, as reported by Euractiv and Politico.
Italian Socialist David Sassoli is the current President of the European Parliament, but under the an agreement between the large party groups, a politician from the European People’s Party (EPP) could succeed him halfway through the Parliamentary cycle.
Although Robert Metsola of the Maltese People’s Party has been mentioned in the press as a possible successor, Karas is thus far the only officially-declared candidate for the position from the EPP.
The Austrian politician has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1999, as well as one of Fidesz’s loudest critics in the European Parliament, according to Index. He initiated the expulsion of Tamás Deutsch from the EPP group after the Fidesz MEP compared a remark by group leader Manfred Weber to something that might be said by the Gestapo or the Hungarian Secret Police under the communist regime.
When Fidesz left the European People’s Party group in March, Othmar Karas expressed no disappointment, writing on Twitter that “Fidesz’ exit from the EPP is the result of Orbán’s failed attempt at blackmail.”
A decision by the EPP on its choice for European Parliament President is expected by the end of the month.