Kevin McCarthy has been elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives after heated exchanges which almost saw fellow Republicans come to blows, the BBC reports.
It took 15 rounds of voting for Mr. McCarthy to win the job, despite his party having a majority in the chamber.
It came after a dramatic pressure campaign played out live on the House floor as party rebel Matt Gaetz was urged to vote for Mr. McCarthy.
The Florida Congressman was among six holdouts who relented late on Friday.
Earlier, amid heated scenes in the chamber, Mr. Gaetz had almost come to blows with Rep. Mike Rogers – a supporter of Mr. McCarthy. The Alabama congressman had to be physically restrained by colleagues as he bellowed and jabbed his finger at Mr. Gaetz.
The Speaker sets the House agenda and oversees legislative business. The post is second in line to the presidency after the US vice-president.
Speaking after his confirmation, Mr. McCarthy wrote on Twitter: “I hope one thing is clear after this week: I will never give up. And I will never give up for you, the American people.”
US President Joe Biden congratulated Mr. McCarthy for his win and said he looked forward to cooperating with the Republican Party.
“The American people expect their leaders to govern in a way that puts their needs above all else, and that is what we need to do now,” he said.