After three days of electoral chaos in the US Congress, the power struggle for the highest office in the American Parliament will enter the next round this Friday.
After five more unsuccessful ballots in the vote for the chairman of the House of Representatives, the House of Representatives voted on Thursday evening (local time) to adjourn the session to this Friday (local time/18:00 CET). Republican candidate Kevin McCarthy has already failed eleven ballots in the past few days due to an internal party rebellion. The election drama is paralyzing Congress and is a historical embarrassment for the 57-year-old.
Republicans have a slim majority in the chamber. As a result, McCarthy would need almost all the votes of his party colleagues to be elected to the powerful post, which is third in the national hierarchy after the president and vice president. But several Republicans on the right-wing fringe of the faction refused to support McCarthy. As a result, he did not get the necessary number of votes.
Opponents of McCarthy remain in the resistance
Despite McCarthy's repeated concessions to his opponents, they have so far remained tough in their resistance. On Thursday, as before, 20 Republicans stubbornly voted for alternate candidates from their party, embarrassing McCarthy and denying him an election victory. Another Republican representative abstained. A solution to the tangled situation is not yet in sight - despite intense negotiations behind the scenes.
McCarthy said Thursday night after the meeting, "We're making good progress." He wasn't more specific. The Republican faction leader once again tried to downplay the internal revolt against him and denied that the uprising in his own ranks was weakening him. Referring to the historical scope of the drama, he said, "I like making history." He also holds the record for the longest speech in the House of Representatives.
The current vote for the top job is already one of the longest in US history. Not since the 19th century has it taken the members of the House of Representatives as many attempts to elect a new leader as it does now. The last time there were more ballots was only in 1859/1860. At that time, Republican William Pennington was only elected chairman of the Chamber of Congress in the 44th ballot. The process took several weeks at the time.
Duration of the election completely unclear
How long the tugging will last this time is completely unclear. It has been dragging on since Tuesday: the House of Representatives met there for its inaugural session after the general election in November. Republicans regained control of the Congress Chamber, albeit by a narrow margin. But instead of demonstrating its new political strength, the party threw the Chamber into chaos and brought the work of Parliament to a standstill. Because until the presidency is clarified, nothing works in the House of Representatives: the chamber cannot start its work. Not even those with new MPs can be sworn in. Legislative work is out of the question.
The chaotic conditions in American democracy come at a time when the country is remembering the unprecedented attack on the US Capitol. The brutal attack on the seat of parliament marks the second anniversary this Friday.
On January 6, 2021, supporters of then President Donald Trump violently stormed the Congress building in the capital Washington. Congress met there to formally confirm the victory of Democrat Biden in the presidential election. Trump had previously incited his supporters in a speech that he had been deprived of a victory by massive election fraud. Five people died as a result of the riots.
President Biden, who took office shortly after the attack, plans to hold a ceremony in the White House this Friday to commemorate the outbreak of violence and to award several police officers for their service that day. Biden described the election drama in Congress on Wednesday as "embarrassing" for the country. He also pointed out that the United States had only just come to terms with the chaos of January 6, 2021 and that US democracy was again "not giving a good picture" before the eyes of the world.