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US politics: Pelosi quits as leader of Congressional Democrats

Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi says she will step down as the Democratic leader in the chamber.

Mrs Pelosi, the first woman to occupy the influential office, made the announcement on Thursday, exactly a day after Republicans secured a narrow majority following the November 8 midterm elections.

Reuters reports the 82-year-old liberal politician from California as saying she will remain in Congress, representing San Francisco in the House as she has done for 35 years.

After serving two stints as speaker, Mrs Pelosi may be replaced as the top Democrat in the House by Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

Mr Jeffries would be the first Black lawmaker to lead one of the major parties’ caucuses in Congress.

Mrs Pelosi, who became speaker during the administration of Republican George Bush Jr., received continuous cheers from her fellow Democrats as she took her place in the House chamber to make the announcement.

She called the House chamber “sacred ground” and the “heart of American democracy”.

She recalled visiting the Capitol for the first time as a child, when her father was sworn in as a House member. The chamber, she said, represented “the people’s house” and had done “the people’s work.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Tony Okerafor