US & Canada

Democrats elect Nancy Pelosi as minority leader

Nancy Pelosi, John Larsen, James Clyburn
Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker, fought off a challenge to remain leader

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will remain the Democrat's leader when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.

Republicans have selected Ohio Congressman John Boehner as their nominee for speaker and Virginia's Eric Cantor as majority leader.

Mrs Pelosi fended off a last minute challenge from moderate Democrat Heath Shuler. She won easily, 150-43 votes.

Several Democrats have blamed Mrs Pelosi for their mid-term losses.

"The truth is, she is the face that defeated us in this last election," Florida Congressman Allen Boyd, who lost his seat in the mid-terms, told reporters

The BBC's Katie Connolly in Washington says that although Mrs Pelosi enjoys the broad support of liberal members of her caucus, Mr Shuler's challenge shows the serious discontent felt by centrist Democrats.

The leadership ballots produced no surprise results in either party. Mr Boehner and Mr Cantor were elected unopposed.

Michele Bachman, the founding member of the congressional Tea Party caucus, had planned to challenge Jeb Hensarling for the chairmanship of the Republican conference - the fourth most senior leadership position - but she dropped her bid when it became clear that she did not have sufficient support.