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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Santer Primed To Become EU President

BRUSSELS -- Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jacques Santer looked set Wednesday to become the next president of the European Commission, a safe but uninspiring compromise choice to end an embarrassing impasse.

European Union leaders will hold a special summit in Brussels on Friday afternoon to pick a successor to Jacques Delors, but diplomats said Santer, who has led his country for nine years, was now the only viable candidate in the running.

The 57-year-old Christian Democrat prime minister was presenting his new center-right cabinet to Grand-Duke Jean on Wednesday -- a carbon copy of the previous administration which was voted back into office in general elections last month.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is determined to settle the issue Friday to avoid risking a row with the European Parliament and poisoning his country's EU presidency in the run-up to general elections in October.

Santer, nobody's first choice for a post which Delors has transformed into a powerful international force during the past 10 years, got his chance when Britain vetoed appointment of Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene.