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At the end of the third day of voting, Thursday, the elected Republicans of the House of Representatives, who have a slim majority, have still not managed to agree on a new president. The favorite Kevin McCarthy, who dreams of this position of “speaker”, will try again on Friday to win.
The American House of Representatives ended its day Thursday, January 5 without succeeding in electing its new president, remaining completely paralyzed by dissension in the Republican ranks.
Favorite Kevin McCarthy has still not managed to reach the perch after a third day of negotiations and 11 rounds of an election which still seems hopeless. Debates are due to resume Friday at 12 p.m. (5 p.m. GMT).
The elected representative of California reached out to the twenty or so Trumpist elected officials playing the spoilsport, offering them sizeable concessions during behind-the-scenes negotiations. In vain. The group, which says it has no confidence in itself, still refused to fall into line, leaving the House of Representatives one more day without a president – a scenario unheard of in 160 years.
This blocking has very concrete repercussions: without a “speaker”, elected officials cannot take an oath or therefore pass a bill.
Members of the most conservative fringe of the party, these elected Trumpists take advantage of the very thin Republican majority won in the November mid-term elections to set their conditions.
“We need to fix this broken system,” Montana elected official Matt Rosendale said from the hemicycle, urging other Republicans to join their revolt. Kevin McCarthy, who cannot be elected without their support, acceded to one of their requests aimed precisely at facilitating the ousting of the “speaker”. But opposition to his candidacy seemed to crystallize.
The third most important figure in American politics after the president and the vice-president, the “speaker” needs a majority of 218 votes to be elected. Kevin McCarthy currently capped at 201. How long will his candidacy remain viable?
No credible competitor
A member of the Republican staff for more than 10 years, the elected official does not currently have a credible competitor. Only the name of group leader Steve Scalise is circulating as a possible alternative, without his chances seeming serious.
The House will continue to vote until a Speaker is elected. What is generally only a matter of a few hours could extend over several weeks: in 1856, the elected members of Congress agreed only after two months and 133 turns.
Democratic President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the situation “embarrassing”, assuring that “the rest of the world” was closely following the mess in Congress.
Laughter and applause
Annoyance and impatience were also felt in the ranks of the “Grand Old Party”, which largely support the candidacy of Kevin McCarthy, giving rise to very lively debates in the hemicycle.
The Republicans are thus unable for the moment to open the numerous investigations they had promised against Joe Biden. A situation that the Democrats observe with a certain amusement, between smirking and applause for their Republican colleagues. Joe Biden’s party is united around the candidacy of leader Hakeem Jeffries, but the elected official does not have enough votes to access the perch either.
“I have hope today that Republicans will stop the bickering, the backstabbing, and the backstabbing, so that we can work in service to the American people,” he called on a Thursday press conference.
Facing a hostile but messy House could prove to be a political boon for Joe Biden, if he confirms his intention to run again in 2024 – a decision he is due to announce at the start of the year.