Democratic Party head resigns amid email furor on eve of convention

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PHILADELPHIA, July 24 (Reuters) - Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned on Sunday amid a furor over leaked emails, throwing the party into disarray on the eve of the convention to nominate Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.

Lingering bitterness from the heated primary campaign between Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders erupted after more than 19,000 leaked Democratic National Committee emails seemed to confirm Sanders' frequent charge that the DNC, the administrative arm of the party, played favorites in the race.

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Sanders had demanded that Wasserman Schultz resign earlier in the day.

"We have planned a great and unified convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

The furor was a blow to a party keen on projecting steadiness in contrast to the volatility of Republican nominee Donald Trump, who was formally nominated last week, and overshadowed preparations in Philadelphia for Clinton's coronation as the Democratic nominee to face Trump in the Nov. 8 White House election. The four-day Democratic convention will open on Monday.

RELATED: See photos of Wasserman Schultz and the Democrats she's supported:

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 23rd District) and chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) speaks to reporters in the spin room after watching tonight's democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley spent yesterday campaigning in South Carolina in lead up to tonight's debate. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 19: DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) introduces US President Barack Obama during the Democratic National Committee's Women's Leadership Forum, September 19, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Womens Leadership Forum is holding their 21st annual National Issues Conference a the Marriot Marquis Hotel. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) hugs DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (L), D-FL, as Clinton arrives on stage to speak at the Democratic National Committee's Womens Leadership Forum Issues Conference in Washington, DC on September 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 23: Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz attends a campaign rally at Florida International University Panther Arena on July 23, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine made their first public appearance together a day after the Clinton campaign announced Senator Kaine as the Democratic vice presidential candidate. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), speaks during a campaign event for Hillary Clinton, presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, not pictured, in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Clinton named Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate for the Democratic presidential ticket, a widely-anticipated choice that may say more about how she wants to govern than how she plans to win in November. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks at a rally, before the arrival of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her vice presidential running mate U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 23, 2016. Picture taken July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Audette
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz talks with members of the media before the Democratic presidential candidates debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, December 19, 2015. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl
U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) stands with her friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) (R) during a farewell ceremony for Giffords on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, in this still image taken from video, January 25, 2012. Giffords, wounded a year ago in a deadly Tucson shooting spree, stepped down from the U.S. Congress on Wednesday to focus on her recovery. REUTERS/HouseTV/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS PROFILE SOCIETY)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 21: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., descends the House steps after a vote in the Capitol, October 21 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 23rd District) and chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) speaks to reporters in the spin room after watching tonight's democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley spent yesterday campaigning in South Carolina in lead up to tonight's debate. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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