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Monday May 26, 2014 MYT 9:45:02 PM
Monday May 26, 2014 MYT 9:46:34 PM
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi casts his vote during the European Parliament elections in a polling station in Pontassieve, near Florence, northern Italy May 25, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The head of Romania's main opposition party resigned on Monday after his Liberal party's poor result in the European elections, in a likely boost to Prime Minister Victor Ponta's prospects of winning the country's presidential election in November.
Crin Antonescu and other senior party members quit, local television channels said, after the party won just 14.9 percent of the vote, short of party leaders' 20 percent target. Ponta's leftist alliance topped the ballot, with 37.4 percent.
Liberal party officials were not immediately available to comment.
Antonescu was seen as a likely presidential candidate who could have mounted a credible challenge to Ponta - who may run for the presidency himself - or Ponta's chosen candidate.
The Liberals were in coalition with the centre-left government until February, when they left after a series of rows.
Gaining control of the presidency would be a major boon for Ponta. The incumbent two-term president, Traian Basescu, is Ponta's arch political rival and the two have clashed repeatedly over policy and frequently trade barbs in public.
(Writing by Matthias Williams; Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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