Italian former Prime Minister Mario Draghi with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen

News Vote 24

Draghi tops von der Leyen in poll for next European Commission chief


Italy’s Mario Draghi would beat incumbent European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the top job if European Union citizens could vote on the issue, according to a new pan-European poll.

Former Italian prime minister Draghi has not officially sought the post but still led von der Leyen among supporters of all political blocs, Left and Right, except those backing the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Greens.

Von der Leyen, pitching for a second term as EC chief, did not even manage 50 per cent support in her own native Germany, where 45 per cent of voters supported her in the Polling Europe exercise published on June 6.

Draghi attracted 68 per cent backing in his native Italy and 59 per cent in Southern Europe generally.

Von der Leyen’s support was strongest among Green party members, who backed her by 55 per cent, and supporters of her EPP bloc — 70 per cent of whom preferred her to Draghi.

These, though, were the only two groups whose members backed her over Draghi. He had greater support among supporters of all the European Parliament’s other political groups.

Liberal ALDE/Renew backers preferred Draghi over von der Leyen by 59 per cent to 58 per cent. Eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) chose him by 55 per cent to 44 per cent.

On the harder right, the Identity and Democracy (ID) bloc picked Draghi by 41 per cent against von der Leyen’s 25 per cent.

She did not fare too much better among the Left bloc, where voters preferred the Italian by 48 per cent to 40 per cent.

Draghi led in France, at 33 per cent to 29 per cent. Geographically, von der Leyen led in Spain (56 per cent), Northern Europe (54 per cent) and central and Eastern Europe (53 per cent).

Polling Europe, a new initiative between Italy’s SWG Research and France’s OpinionWay, interviewed 5,000 adults of voting age across Europe in the last week of May.

French President Emmanuel Macron had reportedly been lobbying hard in recent weeks for Draghi to succeed von der Leyen as EC chief and/or Charles Michel as president of the European Council.

Perhaps ironically, Draghi’s spell as a “technocratic” non-party head of Italy’s government ended in 2022 with the victory of current Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Meloni is now President of the ECR and could find herself in the role of kingmaker after the dust has settled following the European Parliament elections.