Republican Kevin elected US House Speaker

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Republican Kevin McCarthy was elected speaker of the US House of Representatives on Saturday after making extensive concessions to a group of right-wing hardliners that raised questions about the party’s ability to govern.

The 57-year-old Californian suffered one final humiliation when Representative Matt Gaetz withheld his vote on the 14th ballot as midnight approached, prompting a scuffle in which fellow Republican Mike Rogers had to be physically pulled away.

McCarthy’s victory on the 15th ballot brought an end to the deepest congressional dysfunction in over 160 years. But it sharply illustrated the difficulties that he will face in leading a narrow and deeply polarised majority. He won at last on a margin of 216-212.

He was able to be elected with the votes of fewer than half the House members only because six in his own party withheld their votes — not backing McCarthy as a leader, but also not voting for another contender. As he took the gavel for the first time, McCarthy represented the end of President Joe Biden’s Democrats’ hold on both chambers of Congress.—Reuters