Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate for the US presidency. Hillary Clinton (photo) will withdraw from the race and back her rival, said her campaign.
After the final votes of the primary season on Tuesday, Barack Obama won enough delegates to be the Democratic nominee.
Although Hillary Clinton still has not publicly admitted that she lost the contest, she will do so on Saturday, “and express her support for Senator Obama”, who has already announced a team to help select his running mate.
Mrs Clinton’s communications director, Howard Wolfson said that Hillary Clinton will also “express her support… for party unity” at a Democratic Party event in Washington.
Mr Wolfson said that the event, earlier planned on Friday, has been delayed a day “to accommodate more of Senator Clinton’s supporters who want to attend”.
The BBC’s Jane O’Brien in Washington says that as Mr Obama was claiming victory, even Hillary Clinton’s supporters were stunned to ear her speech, that offered no indication that she was giving up.
BBC correspondent adds that speculation say the delay in conceding was aiming at positioning herself as a possible vice-president.
Caroline Kennedy (photo), daughter of president John Kennedy, former deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and Jim Johnson are the three-member panel who are looking for a presidential running mate for Mr Obama.
In 2004, Mr Johnson performed the same selection task for John Kerry.
“Senator Obama is pleased to have three talented and dedicated individuals managing this rigorous process”, said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Illinois senator.
“He will work closely with them in the coming weeks but ultimately this will be his decision and his alone.”
Mrs Clinton has declared herself “open” to the idea of being Mr Obama’s vice-presidential running-mate.
“I’m very confident of how we’re going to be able to bring the party together”, said Barack Obama, referring to a brief conversation he had held with his defeated rival.
John McCain, the Republican party’s candidate, has already challenged Mr Obama to take part in debates in 10 town hall meetings, before August’s Democratic convention. The Obama team is said to be considering the invitation.