Gingrich announces withdrawal from Republican primaries

Washington, May 3 (IANS/EFE) Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich announced Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the Republican primaries, leaving the way clear for the front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, to capture the party’s nomination.

“Today, I am suspending the campaign. But suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” said Gingrich at a press conference in suburban Washington where he was accompanied by his wife Callista and other members of his family.

The former speaker of the House of Representatives said that he will continue working along the main lines of his campaign, including – he said – cutting spending, balancing the budget, pushing for job creation in the private sector and fostering energy independence.

Gingrich avoided explicitly giving his backing to Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, but he said that the former Massachusetts governor would be much better than Barack Obama, whom he called “the most radical, leftist president in American history”.

Gingrich, who last week announced his intention to abandon the race, managed to win only the South Carolina and Georgia primaries and he never was able to close the gap in the polls with Romney, who virtually all along has been considered the favourite of the party leadership.

The former House speaker, a politician with more than three decades of experience in government, was not able to connect with the party’s base and lost the battle for the backing of the more conservative Republicans to former Sen. Rick Santorum, who also dropped out of the race a month ago.