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The New EU Presidency - Contenders And Odds (PHOTOS, POLL)

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This Thursday, the European Council is expected to announce their first-ever elected President.

However, with a baffling selection process taking place firmly behind closed doors, and no clear candidates or actual vote, the European public is struggling to get excited for what may be an important decision.

The role, whilst largely administrative, represents a new era of European integration. It would be the first time the European Union would have a recognizable, elected leader. As Reuters put it:

The post of EU president was created to give Brussels more clout and respect in world affairs. The person was supposed to be instantly recognizable and charismatic to boost dwindling public confidence which hit rock bottom when French and Dutch voters rejected the EU's draft constitution in 2005.

Whilst the European Council currently has a presidential position, this position is technically the head of state of the member that is currently president of the council. These member states rotate every 6 months. Having a separate, elected leader who holds office for two and a half years would, in theory, provide more continuity to pan-European politics and give an identifiable face for the rest of the world.

The problem is, with a region as diverse as Europe, a candidate that can appease all states is unlikely to be found. The Financial Times reports:

A majority of the EU's 27 national leaders are deeply uncomfortable with the idea that the bloc's first full-time president might overshadow them - diminishing the status of national governments in the process.

Just who could overcome this deadlock? We look at the favorites - with odds from British bookmakers Ladbrokes - and ask you to vote on who should be chosen.

Please note - odds correct at time of publication Wednesday, but may change. Check Ladbrokes for the latest odds.

The New EU President Role - Who Will Be Chosen?
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