US House speaker election stretches into third day

Members of the US House of Representatives have failed to elect a new speaker after six rounds of votes over two days due to divisions in the Republican Party.

The House was adjourned until Thursday, with no signs of an end to the standoff.

The House session opened on Tuesday, with the Republicans holding a majority as a result of the midterm elections last November.

The party's House leader, Kevin McCarthy, was favored to be speaker. But he failed to win the necessary 218 votes on Tuesday as hardline conservatives from his own party refused to support him.

McCarthy and his backers have been trying to persuade the holdouts to support his bid.

McCarthy secured only 201 votes from the 222 House Republicans on Wednesday, as 20 voted for a different member and one abstained.

President Joe Biden told reporters on Wednesday that it's "embarrassing" that the election is taking so long. He said the rest of the world is looking.

The House speaker is second in line in the succession for the presidency if the elected president should die or be removed from office.

This is the first time in 100 years that the House has failed to elect a speaker in the first vote.