European Parliament's presidential candidate Antonio Tajani attends the presentation of the candidates for the election to the office of the President at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Italy's Antonio Tajani was a step closer to becoming the new head of the European Parliament Tuesday after winning the backing of the assembly's fourth-biggest group.The head of the parliament's Liberal group, former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, pulled out of the race and threw his support behind Tajani in what he described as a "pro-European coalition". Tajani, a former spokesman for Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and ex-European commissioner, comes from the center-right EPP grouping, the largest in the 751-seat parliament.Verhofstadt said the coalition is open to all pro-European groups and aimed at changing the EU's direction.
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