BERLIN, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 8, 2016) (REUTERS) – For month the two candidates to become the next U.S. president lay siege to one another, the duel between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was possibly the most aggressive campaign in U.S. history.
Nevertheless, for many the drama was gripping and will see close eyes from across the world over the final result of voting.
U.S. expats living in Germany, as well as Germans intrigued by U.S. politics, eagerly awaited the decision from across the Atlantic. Some 700 guests from politics, business and society, including U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson, attended Germany’s biggest U.S. election party at the Bertelsmann foundation in Berlin, hosted by CNN, n-tv and the magazine ‘Stern’.
“The person who will be the next president of the United States is the person who gets 270 electoral votes,” Emerson said, to the disappointment of his audience who were expecting a bolder prediction.
The campaign focused on the character of the candidates: Clinton, 69, a former U.S. secretary of state, and Trump, 70, a New York businessman. They often accused each other of being fundamentally unfit to lead the United States as it faces challenges such as an arduous economic recovery, Islamist militants and the rise of China.
A Clinton presidency would likely provide continuity from fellow Democrat Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House, although if Republicans retain control of at least one chamber in Congress more years of political gridlock in Washington could ensue.
A win for Trump could shake some of the basic building blocks of American foreign policy, such as the NATO alliance and free trade, and reverse some of Obama’s domestic achievements such as his 2010 healthcare law.
With more than 225 million people eligible to cast ballots, voting ends in some states at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (0000 GMT on Wednesday), with the first meaningful results due about an hour later. U.S. television networks called the winner of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections at 11 p.m. (0400 GMT) or shortly after.