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CNBC explains: John Boehner resigns, what's next?

John Boehner
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John Boehner

In the wake of House Speaker John Boehner's surprise resignation announcement, here's what will happen.

First, the House will call for an election to appoint a new speaker once the resignation takes effect at the end of October, as what happens when a new Congress convenes.

Once the election has been called, each major party conference or caucus nominates a candidate for speaker, according to the House website.

Read MoreSpeaker John Boehner resigns from Congress

The winner must receive at least 50 percent of the roll call vote. However, this could be less than the majority of the House because of vacancies and absentee voters.

If an absolute majority is not reached initially, the roll call is repeated until one is reached.

Boehner, 65, became the 61st House speaker in 2011, succeeding Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and will be the first speaker to resign since 1989.

Pundits have said the number two Republican in the House, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, is a front-runner to succeed Boeher.

Read MoreIf you thought Boehner brought the ruckus, stay tuned