The US Democrats have completed a generational change at the top and elected Hakeem Jeffries as the first black faction leader in the House of Representatives. The 52-year-old was elected by his party peers in the Congress Chamber after 82-year-old Nancy Pelosi announced her departure.
The MP from New York was already a member of the parliamentary group executive committee and had announced after the congressional elections that he wanted to lead the Democrats in the House of Representatives in the future.
The call for a generation change had recently become louder within the party. Again and again there were MPs from their own ranks who spoke out against Pelosi and called for change and rejuvenation. Critics saw her as a representative of the old guard and called for her to make way for someone younger after so many years in Congress and at the head of her faction. However, her successor will have less power because the Democrats lost their majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
As a result, Jeffries will lead his party as a minority in the House of Representatives - and not as "Speaker of the House", i.e. chairman of the House of Representatives. A Republican will hold that position. Republican lawmakers have nominated Kevin McCarthy as their nominee to chair the House of Representatives - the vote is early January. However, McCarthy should not have it as easy as Jeffries, behind whom the Democrats have gathered relatively united. Republican McCarthy, on the other hand, has to fear dissenters - a problem given his party's thin majority in the House of Representatives.