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Nancy Pelosi steps down as Democrats’ House leader: who will be the next Speaker of the House?

The 82-year-old has led her party in the House for two decades but leaves as the Republicans take control of the chamber.

Pelosi will not run again for House leader
Anna MoneymakerGetty

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed on Thursday that she will not seek re-election as the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. The 82-year-old had served at the top of the party’s House leadership for two decades but leaves as the Republicans prepare to take a majority in the chamber.

She was first elected to Congress in 1987 and became the highest ranking woman in congressional history when she was elected House minority whip in 2022. The following year she became House minority leader and subsequently Speaker of the House after the 2006 midterms.

In an emotional address from Congress she said that she felt that the time was right for her to move on. She added that the recent attack on her husband, Paul, in their Washington home had influenced her decision to step aside.

Who will be the next Speaker of the House?

As Pelosi comes to the end of her second stint as Speaker of the House, control of the chamber is passing to the GOP. The Republicans underperformed expectations but did manage to flip the House, meaning a change in leadership.

Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the favourite to take over from Pelosi as Speaker. He would be the obvious choice as the incumbent leader of the new party in power, but internal GOP politics may pose a threat.

The Republicans only hold a slim majority and will need at least 218 votes to approve the new Speaker when the leadership vote takes place in January. This means the new leader has very little time to unite a disparate party.

More on this breaking news story as it develops…


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