By Le Figaro with AFP


Republican MP Kevin McCarthy. JON CHERRY / REUTERS

The elected Republican from California managed to convince a few Trumpists to vote for him on Friday, even if that is still insufficient to end a psychodrama that has lasted four days.

He finally begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Republican Kevin McCarthy managed Friday, January 6 to convince some Trumpists to support his candidacy for the post of “speaker” of the American Congress, not enough however to clear the way for him to the perch. The Capitol, attacked exactly two years ago by supporters of Donald Trump, is plunged into another type of chaos, paralyzed by the revolt of very conservative elected officials. Favorite to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy has for the first time made significant progress in his candidacy, on the fourth day of particularly slow negotiations.

Only a handful of diehards remained firmly opposed to his election and the elected representative from California hoped to bring them into line by 10 p.m. (0300 GMT Saturday), when the debates will resume in the hemicycle. “I counted the votes”, he assured Friday afternoon to a crowd of journalists questioning him on the viability of his candidacy. This hard core of very conservative elected officials takes advantage of the very thin Republican majority won in the November mid-term elections to play spoilsport. And still camped on this position after 13 votes, an unprecedented scenario in more than 160 years.

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This paralysis of the American Congress has very concrete repercussions: without a “speaker”, the third most important figure in American politics after the president and the vice-president, elected officials cannot take the oath, nor therefore vote on a bill. It is also impossible to participate in parliamentary committees or to receive information classified as defense secret.

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The 434 members of the House of Representatives, the scene of this singular spectacle, will continue to vote until a president is elected. What is generally only a matter of a few hours could extend over several weeks: in 1856, the elected members of Congress only agreed after two months and 133 turns. Kevin McCarthy, however, has no credible competitor. Only the name of group leader Steve Scalise has circulated as a possible alternative, without his chances seeming serious.

The annoyance was palpable among the members of the “Grand Old Party”, who largely support the candidacy of Kevin McCarthy, giving rise to very heated debates. Many of them also left the hemicycle in protest during the Friday speech by Matt Gaetz, one of the elected leaders of the revolt.

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In the Democratic ranks, where the elected officials all stand up en bloc at each vote, as if to underline the Republican divisions a little more, we are dealing with it as best we can. Joe Biden’s party may show unity around its leader Hakeem Jeffries, but his camp does not have enough votes to end this paralysis.

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The Democrats also strongly denounced Friday the stranglehold of the faithful of Donald Trump – many of whom still refuse to recognize the defeat in 2020 – on the Republican party, two years after the attack carried out by his supporters against the seat of Congress. “The chaos in the House of Representatives is just another illustration of how an extreme fringe (…) prevents them from governing”, assured the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer. The anniversary of the assault on the Capitol “should serve as a signal to the Republican Party to reject the Trumpism that is leading it from failure to failure”he said in a statement.