Naming of von der Leyen as EU executive chief not transparent: Juncker

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has been nominated as European Commission President, arrives at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the process to appoint his successor, Germany's Ursula von der Leyen, was not transparent and marked an unwelcome break with the practice of choosing parties' lead candidates.

"The process was not very transparent," Juncker told a news conference in Helsinki on Friday, replying to a question about how EU leaders this week selected the next president of the EU executive. The nominee requires European Parliament approval.

He added that his appointment five years ago was transparent as he was chosen by leaders after having campaigned in European elections.

"Unfortunately it did not become a tradition," Juncker said. "I was the first and the last spitzenkandidat," he added, using the German word for lead candidate in EU elections.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Mark Heinrich)