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Bernie Sanders suspends 2020 presidential campaign

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US Senator Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign, his team said Wednesday, clearing the way for rival Joe Biden to become the Democratic nominee to challenge Republican incumbent Donald Trump in November.

[WASHINGTON]  US Senator Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign, his team said Wednesday, clearing the way for rival Joe Biden to become the Democratic nominee to challenge Republican incumbent Donald Trump in November.

Mr Sanders, a 78-year-old leftist who challenged Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2016, was holding a staff conference call on Wednesday when he "announced that he is suspending his campaign for president," his aides said in a statement.

"The path toward victory is virtually impossible," Mr Sanders later said in a livestreamed speech to supporters from his hometown of Burlington, Vermont.

"I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful. And so today, I am announcing the suspension of my campaign."

Mr Sanders, who mounted a formidable challenge to Mr Biden in the 2020 race, became the frontrunner early this year only to be eclipsed by a surging former vice president, who holds a substantial lead in the all-important race for delegates who choose the nominee.

Mr Sanders' decision comes as the country grapples with a coronavirus outbreak that upended the nominating schedule, with some primaries postponed and others up in the air.

Mr Sanders had been under pressure to halt his campaign after Mr Biden won resounding victories in primary contests on March 17 in Florida, Arizona and Illinois.

Some allies had encouraged Mr Sanders to stay in the race to further influence Mr Biden's policy positions. But the coronavirus crisis shifted public focus away from the campaign and, with all rallies cancelled, Mr Sanders had little opportunity to get his message across.

AFP, REUTERS

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