Hillary Clinton (photo) has suffered a steback in her efforts to become the Democratic Party’s nominee, in the race for presidency.
Delegates from Florida and Michigan have been allowed by the party to attend its convention, but the delegates will only have half a vote each.
It means that Barack Obama remains the clear leader in the race for the nomination, as she is still trailing him.
Harold Ickes, Hillary Clinton’s adviser, and a member of the committee which took the votes on Florida and Michigan, said she reserved the right to appeal against the decisions.
The votes by the party’s rules and bylaws committee took place amid heated exchanges between Clinton and Obama supporters. The committee was meeting in the ballroom of a Washington hotel.
The senator of New York wanted the committee to allow delegates from Florida and Michigan to vote in August, at the Democratic National Convention.
To that convention, delegates elected in each state, will decide which candidate from Hillary Clinton and her rival, Barack Obama (photo), becomes the Democratic Party candidate in November’s presidential election.
Even though officialy Mrs Clinton won primaries in Florida and Michigan, both were initially discounted because they held their polls in January, in contravention of party rules.
Barack Obama chose not to put his name on the ballot in Michigan. Clinton and Obama had signed a pledge with other candidates not to campaign in Michigan and Florida, after they broke party rules.
This compromise gives Mrs Clinton 69 delegates, and Mr Obama 59. In Michigan she gains 105, compared to Mr Obama’s 67.
Mr’s Obama’s lead is reduced, previously 202, by 48, but Mrs Clinton’s gains are too as the delegates from those two states will only have half a vote each.
After rejecting, by 15-12, a plan that would give all delegates full voting rights at the convention, the 27-member committee unanimously accepted the compromise decision for Florida. And the compromise was approved by 19-8 in the case of Michigan.
In the end, Hillary Clinton gains only 24 delegates votes, which is far short of what she needs to catch her rival.
But Mrs Clinton keeps on hoping to persuade undecided “superdelegates” that she should be the party’s nominee.
Her adviser, Mr Ickes, accused the committee of “hijacking” votes for Mrs Clinton.
‘You stole my vote’
“Mrs Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the credentials committee” he added.
On the other side, the Obama campaign talked about Saturday’s votes as a “fair solution that will allow Michigan and Florida to participate” in the party convention in Denver in August.
This situation clearly exposed the divisions in the party, caused by Clinton’s refusal to heed calls to bow out of the race for the nomination. During the day’s voting, her supporters chanted “Denver, Denver”, implying that the contest with the senator of Illinois will drag on until the convention, and “Madame President, Madame President”.
Two women could be heard shouting at each other to “shut up” while another shouted “you stole my vote”.
An appeal for party unity was jeered by one heckler with the words “Lipstick on a pig!”
Some people even chanted “McCain, McCain”, saying they would vote for John McCain (photo), the Republican nominee.
The last three Democrat primaries will take place in Puerto Rico on Sunday, followed by Montana and South Dakota on Tuesday.