THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced his candidacy for a second term as leader of the group of euro area finance ministers Friday and will face a challenge from his Spanish counterpart Luis de Guindos.
“My feeling is I can go ahead with full confidence,” Dijsselbloem told reporters in The Hague. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people. There seems to be broad support, but you only know (the outcome) once the ballots have been counted.”
Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher said that Dijsselbloem has his government’s full support, calling him “the right man in the right place” to lead the euro group.
An official in Madrid said that De Guindos will also be a candidate.
The Economy Ministry official said that Spain “has support among its partners” for the candidacy. Last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would back De Guindos.
The official said that Spain’s record of reform and bringing the country out of recession would work in De Guindos’s favor.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ministry’s policy.
Ministers from the 19 European Union nations that use the euro will vote for a new leader later this month.
Dijsselbloem was first elected in 2013 to replace Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg, who held the job for eight years.
Over the past two and a half years, Dijsselbloem has led efforts to keep the euro currency intact, particularly in tough negotiations with Greece about its financial bailout.
Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed.
This story has been corrected to show 19, not 17, nations use the euro currency.
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