Widely considered an ardent supporter of India-US ties, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has been elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives for the second time, becoming the most powerful elected woman in the US.
Pelosi, 78, second in line for the presidency, took the gavel as Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in the new Congress after the mid-term elections.
With 235 seats, Democrats now enjoy majority in the US House of Representatives. Republicans now have 199 seats in the 435-member House after the November elections.
She replaces Republican leader Paul Ryan, 48, in the new Congress. She won the speakership by 220-192 vote over the Republican leader Congress Kevin McCarthy, who is now the House Minority Leader.
The Speaker is second in the US presidential line of succession, after the Vice President and ahead of the President pro tempore of the Senate.
Pelosi also makes history as she reclaims a title she previously held when she served as the first and so far only female House Speaker from 2007 to 2011.
Her victory came as the US government remained partly shut down in a row over funds for the president’s border wall with Mexico. As House speaker, Pelosi will regularly face off against President Donald Trump.
She said she wants to end the shutdown but will not support the wall.