Madness in the US Congress: McCarthy loses eighth election in a row

For the seventh time in a row, Republican Kevin McCarthy fails to win the presidency of the US House of Representatives.

Madness in the US Congress: McCarthy loses eighth election in a row

For the seventh time in a row, Republican Kevin McCarthy fails to win the presidency of the US House of Representatives. His party colleagues continue to refuse their votes – instead, they go to ex-President Donald Trump, among others.

Republican Kevin McCarthy has also failed on the seventh and eighth attempts at the election for chairman of the House of Representatives. The 57-year-old had again made major concessions to his party opponents before the renewed attempt - but they continued to refuse to follow him.

McCarthy had already failed to get the required number of votes in previous ballots. This time, too, the situation did not improve for him one bit. Again, the Republicans nominated an opposing candidate - again the Republican representative Byron Donalds. He had 19 votes on the seventh ballot and 17 votes on the eighth, but there were 20 Republicans who did not vote for McCarthy on each ballot.

Republican representative Kevin Hern was able to win some dissenter votes in the eighth ballot. Republican Matt Gaetz even voted for ex-President Donald Trump in the seventh vote. When voting, MPs can also vote for people who are not members of the US Congress. The opponents of the party who refuse to vote for McCarthy belong to the right fringe of the party and are Trump supporters. MP Gaetz is one of McCarthy's loudest opponents.

McCarthy has reportedly made another big move towards his party opponents ahead of the seventh vote to secure their votes and break the deadlock. The 57-year-old is said to have even agreed to further lower the hurdles for removing a chairman from the House of Representatives.

He offers his opponents a means of pressure to chase him out of office at will. This could have serious ramifications and create even more instability when important decisions are about to be made in Congress. The right-wing MPs could hold the Chamber hostage. McCarthy had already come a long way to accommodate the renegades on this point - but without success. He is now showing a new level of "despair," judged the broadcaster CNN.

McCarthy had previously failed six ballots. For two days he failed to obtain the required majority for the election of the head of the parliamentary chamber and was embarrassed. If McCarthy cannot come to terms with opponents in his party, he may attempt to negotiate with the Democrats. They could help him win the elections by abstaining in their ranks, for example, because that would reduce the number of votes needed. It would also be possible for a new candidate to be put forward that the Republicans could agree on. Talks with the Democrats about a consensus candidate that they would support would also be conceivable.

The fact that the Democrats currently seem to be very happy to see McCarthy fail was shown on Wednesday evening (local time). After a break, MPs met again. McCarthy had previously said that another vote that evening would not be successful - so one of his confidants asked for the meeting to be adjourned. However, the Democrats opposed the project. Only at the last moment was the motion passed by a razor-thin Republican majority.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, several Republicans refused to support their party colleague McCarthy and voted for other candidates in the election for the presidency. 20 Republicans rallied behind opposition candidate Byron Donalds in Wednesday's ballot. McCarthy's opponents had nominated the Republican. With Republicans holding a narrow majority in the House of Commons, McCarthy needs almost every vote in his party to be elected leader.

Even an appeal by ex-President Trump did not change the situation. He had previously supported McCarthy - but gave him backing after the voting debacle. But the ardent Trump fans continued to block McCarthy. The party responded with a "shrug," wrote the Washington Post. There are other names circulating for the speaker's post, Congressman Lauren Boebert said on US television. The 36-year-old is one of the most bitter and loudest McCarthy opponents.

For McCarthy, the series of defeats is a historic defeat and a public embarrassment. It is the first time in a hundred years that the election has required more than one attempt and that a parliamentary group has not elected its candidate to office in the first round.

The power struggle also shows the inner turmoil of Republicans. They had regained a majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections in November and actually wanted to drive President Joe Biden in front of them. Now many are wondering whether the dysfunctional party is even capable of handling the important tasks in the parliamentary chamber.

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