US & Canada

Obama nominates Loretta Lynch as attorney general

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Media captionLoretta Lynch: "I will work every day to safeguard our citizens, our liberties, our rights and this great nation"

US President Barack Obama has nominated New York federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as US attorney general.

If the Senate confirms her appointment, Ms Lynch will be the first African-American woman to head the US justice department.

Mr Obama said she would bring "passion and intelligence" to key priorities such as reforming criminal justice.

Mr Holder was the first African-American to serve as attorney general.

He resigned from the post six weeks ago.

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Media captionPresident Obama: "It's my hope that the Senate will confirm her a third time without delay"

Announcing the new nomination, Mr Obama said: "Loretta might be the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists and still has the reputation for being a charming people person."

He said that Ms Lynch "doesn't look to make headlines, she looks to make a difference. She's not about splash, she is about substance".

Correspondents say that Ms Lynch, 55, is known for her low-key personality and has stirred little controversy during her two tenures as US attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Her nomination comes after Republicans won control of the Senate in Tuesday's mid-term elections.

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Image caption Eric Holder announced his resignation in September

Ms Lynch - a North Carolina native and Harvard-trained lawyer - was one of several candidates Mr Holder had recommended to succeed him.

She has experience in both civil rights and corporate fraud cases.

Mr Holder led the justice department for six years, earning praise from President Obama who called him "the people's lawyer".

However, Mr Holder frequently clashed with Republicans in Congress over issues including gun control and same-sex marriage.

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