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Blair Leaves Race for European Council President

After a short-lived bid, Tony Blair is now out of the running to become the European Council’s first president, having received tepid at best support from other European Union members as well as his successor as prime minister, Gordon Brown. Brown withdrew support of Blair after E.U. leaders including Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy pushed for a leader from their center-right political group. The current shoo-in for the position is Herman Van Rompuy, the prime minister of Belgium. Prior to withdrawing, Blair made a series of unsuccessful phone calls to E.U. leaders and said that he was not surprised by the political “direction of travel” that led to his stepping down.