The US House of Representatives elects a new president today. Usually it’s just a formality, but because of the divisions in the Republican Party, this year it could be a real spectacle. For the first time in a hundred years, multiple rounds of voting may be required.
In November’s US midterm elections, Republicans won a narrow majority in the House of Representatives. With a majority, the party can vote its own candidate for president.
That home candidate is California Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy. He was chosen as the presidential candidate by his own party. But not everyone in the party is happy.
For example, he draws harsh criticism from the far-right wing of the party, which supports former President Trump’s line. Since the Republican Party did not have a large majority (222 of the 435 seats), opposition from a small group would have already jeopardized McCarthy’s presidency.
If the 57-year-old McCarthy fails to convince House in one round, multiple rounds will follow. The last time this happened was in 1923.
There is no alternative within the Republican Party
The election of the Speaker is the first task of the House in the new term that begins today. This happens even before the MPs are sworn in. Parliament cannot function in the absence of the President.
Incidentally, McCarthy could also be elected with less than 218 votes. This is possible, for example, when some MPs do not participate in voting.
The Republican candidate faces the polls with confidence. “I think it’s going to be a good day,” he said of Monday night’s voting day.
McCarthy has the advantage that no other viable candidate has yet emerged within the Republican Party. This means the party leader is a strong contender to replace outgoing Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
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