VICTORIOUS President Barack Obama addressed adoring crowds in Chicago yesterday after winning a second term at the White House, yet was hit by an immediate reality check as markets crashed on the back of renewed tensions in the Eurozone.
In New York the Dow Jones crashed by 2.36 per cent to end the day at 12,932.73 as violent protests erupted in Greece and investors also fretted about America’s own levels of government debt.
The Greek government last night won a key vote on its latest austerity measures. While 153 MPs supported it, the number is significantly lower than the 179 MPs that formed the coalition. A number of MPs were reported to have been expelled from their parties for failing to support the measures, last night.
Greece’s leaders still need to pass the overall bill in another vote on Sunday, and convince its international lenders that it will see through the austerity measures and reforms needed to pave the way for upcoming tranches of its bailout cash.
With economic clouds gathering overhead, Obama and defeated Republican candidate Mitt Romney both struck conciliatory tones in their post-election speeches, encouraging colleagues to find a cure for America’s so called fiscal cliff – a situation that could see the economy knocked by over $600bn in tax hikes and spending cuts as soon as January.
“In the weeks ahead, I look forward to sitting down with governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward,” Obama said.
Referring to divided factions in the Senate and House of Representatives, Obama added: “We are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe.”
In his concession speech, Romney said the US was at “a critical point” in its history. “At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work,” he urged.
Obama was confirmed as a two-term President yesterday, reaching 303 votes on the electoral college – comfortably more than the 270 required to win. The number will rise to 332 if he is confirmed to have won Florida. Late last night Romney remained on only 206, with some seats still to declare.
Yet America remains divided, with nearly half of the popular vote going to Romney.
Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Obama on his re-election. “I have really enjoyed working with him over the last few years and I look forward to working with him again over the next four years,” Cameron said, during his visit to Jordan.
“There are so many things that we need to do: we need to kick start the world economy and I want to see an EU-US trade deal.”
Fellow Conservative Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, also congratulated Obama but was less comprehensive in his praise. “Looking forward to renewing our claim to America’s unpaid Congestion Charge bill!” the Mayor joked on Twitter – a reference to the hefty bill that US diplomats’ cars have run up while driving in central London.