Pelosi announces abandonment of Democratic leadership in Congress

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she will not seek a leadership position in the new Congress, in a fundamental realignment that would make way for a new generation of leaders after Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives to Republicans in the midterm congressional elections.

Pelosi, 82, announced in a House of Representatives speech that she would resign after leading Democrats for nearly 20 years in Congress, and in the wake of the attack on her husband, Paul, last month at their San Francisco home.

The Democratic representative, who became the first woman in the United States to hold the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, added that she intends to remain in Congress as a representative from San Francisco – a position she has held for 35 years – when the new Congress convenes next January.

It is unusual for a party leader to stay in office after retiring from the congressional leadership, but it’s an option that suits Pelosi, who has long defied tradition in his quest for power in Washington.

Pelosi also noted that House Democrats would have “strong leverage over a slim Republican majority.”

Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House and the only person to be elected to office twice in decades, has led Congressional Democrats through defining moments, including passing the health bill under former President Barack Obama and impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

For his part, US President Joe Biden praised Pelosi, pointing out in a statement that he is a “fierce defender of democracy”.

Biden said he “protected our democracy from the violent and bloody insurrection of January 6, 2021,” referring to the attack on the Capitol, noting that Pelosi is “the most important Speaker of the House in our history.”