Tuesday

24th Nov 2020

Biden wins US elections: 'Dark chapter is over'

  • Democratic Party candidate and next US president Joe Biden on the campaign trail (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Joe Biden has won US elections after taking the state of Pennsylvania, ending what some EU politicians have called the "nightmare" years of outgoing president Donald Trump.

The news broke shortly before 6PM Brussels time on Saturday (7 November) after four tense days of vote-counting.

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  • Donald Trump supporter in his hallmark red cap (Photo: Jeff Cirillo)

Biden's triumph, in his home state on the east coast, meant he had 284 votes in the so-called Electoral College in which he needed 270 to secure victory.

He is also winning the popular vote, with 73 million ballots so far in his favour - the most-ever in US history in an election with the highest-ever turnout in 120 years.

The Democratic Party candidate is to become the 46th US president when his inauguration takes place, due on 20 January.

And his incoming vice-president, Kamala Harris, is to become the first-ever woman of colour to win such high office.

Biden has already pledged to reverse Trump's exit from the EU-backed Paris Agreement on climate change.

He is also expected to reconfirm the US commitment to Nato, which Trump put in doubt, and to be friendlier toward Europe on trade, as well as to restore America's allegiance to the liberal values espoused in the EU treaties.

"A very dark chapter in American history is over. Rejoice!", Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia, said in one of the first reactions.

"Whether you're on the left or right: moderation, integrity, seriousness and the mainstream are back," Britain's former finance minister, George Osborne, also said.

But doubt remains whether Trump will go gracefully, or whether he will try to challenge the result via law suits and recounts, or even by calling on his fans to cause civil unrest.

"I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!", Trump tweeted, moments before the Pennsylvania news broke.

He also claimed, earlier on Thursday, that Biden was guilty of fraud, without giving any evidence, in a speech widely condemned, including by his own Republican Party, as well as by leading EU politicians.

"Anyone who continues to pour oil on the fire in a situation like this is acting irresponsibly," German foreign minister Heiko Maas said on Friday.

Meanwhile, even if Trump concedes, Biden will inherit a deeply divided American polity and society, after Trump also won over 70 million votes overall - the second highest number in US records - meaning that Biden might be more busy trying to maintain internal stability than rebuilding the transatlantic partnership that his predecessor all-but destroyed.

"With the campaign over, it's time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation," Biden said in a statement on Saturday.

"It's time for America to unite. And to heal," he added.

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