The US state of Georgia decides whether Democrat Joe Biden can rule with a majority in the Senate. After the majority of the votes have been counted, the first winner is determined. The choice remains a thriller.
The Democrats of the future US President Joe Biden have achieved a stage victory in decisive runoff elections over the majority in the US Senate. In one of two runoff elections in the state of Georgia for the Senate, the candidate Raphael Warnock prevailed against the Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, according to forecasts by TV stations and the AP news agency on Wednesday morning (local time). Most recently, Warnock was well ahead of Loeffler by 53,430 votes.
Should the Democrats win the second runoff election, they would de facto have a majority in the Senate. They already dominate the House of Representatives, the other Chamber of Congress.
Result could be delayed
The second runoff, however, turned out to be a tremendous match. There on Wednesday morning the Democrat Jon Ossoff was lying in front of the Republican incumbent David Perdue. After counting around 4.4 million or around 98 percent of the votes, Ossoff was ahead by over 16,370 votes. It was expected that the lead would increase because the remaining votes tend to come from democratic districts.
The result of this runoff could be delayed, however: In Georgia, the losing candidate has the right to demand a recount if the difference between the number of votes and the winner is 0.5 percent or less. Perdue’s campaign team said that “time and transparency” would be needed for a fair result. All legal steps will be taken to ensure that all votes have been properly counted. The elected US President Donald Trump had advertised Perdue and Loeffler.
“I am honored by the trust”
Warnock thanked the voters shortly before the US media announced the victory. “I am honored by the trust you have placed in me. And I promise you tonight, I will go to the Senate to work for all of Georgia. No matter who you are for in this election, at this moment American history cast your vote. “
Raphael Warnock declares himself the winner of the Georgia Senate election. (Source: Reuters)
The outcome of the two runoff elections will determine whether the Democrats can still gain control of the Senate. One more seat is enough for the Republicans of the elected President Donald Trump to just keep a majority in the parliamentary chamber. The Democrats must capture both seats to gain de facto control. Then there would be a stalemate in the chamber, which the future US Vice President Kamala Harris – who will also be President of the Senate – could resolve with her vote.
The last big showdown
Among other things, the Senate confirms presidential candidates for high government posts or the Supreme Court and can block legislative proposals. The future President Biden could achieve his goals much more easily if the Democrats had a majority not only in the House of Representatives but also in the Senate. Biden is to be sworn in on January 20th.
Helpers count out ballot papers: There is no winner in the election of two Senate seats in Georgia. (Source: Reuters)
Two weeks before the swearing-in ceremony, the last big showdown in the tussle over the outcome of the presidential election is due on Wednesday. At a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate (from 7 p.m. CET), the election result is to be finally confirmed. Numerous Republican MPs and senators are planning – driven by unsubstantiated claims of fraud by Trump – a disruptive action that will cause internal party upheavals and will likely drag out formal processes considerably.
Biden shortly before being sworn in
Trump lost the presidential election in early November by a clear margin to his Democratic challenger Biden. Trump refuses to admit defeat. He claims he was robbed of victory by massive fraud. Neither Trump nor his lawyers provided any solid evidence of this. Dozens of lawsuits from the Trump camp have so far been thrown out of courts, including the US Supreme Court.
The state electorate confirmed Biden’s clear victory. The Democrat got 306 of the 538 votes – 36 more than required. 232 electorates voted for Trump.
The formal post-election procedure in the USA stipulates that the results from the individual states must be read out, counted and finally confirmed in Congress. Then it is official who has won the election. It is the end of a long formal act before a new president is sworn in.
Republican appeals planned
Usually it is a formality. This time, however, massive delays and turbulence can be expected. Republicans from both chambers of congress have announced that they will appeal against the results of individual states during the procedure. According to internal estimates, more than 100 MPs from the House of Representatives could participate, followed by at least 13 Republicans from the Senate.
Any objection must be submitted in writing – by at least one House Representative and at least one Senator. This can be used to force that both chambers of Congress have to withdraw to separate sessions in order to debate the objections and in the end to vote whether they should follow them or not. The procedure could therefore drag on well into Thursday, according to German time.
Democrats criticize disruptive actions
The disruptive action has no chance of changing the outcome of the election. Both chambers of congress would have to agree to an objection to a result, which in view of the majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives is considered impossible. The action is likely to disrupt the processes immensely and create a lot of attention for Trump’s unsubstantiated fraud allegations. At the same time, protests by Trump supporters are planned in Washington during the day, during which the elected president wants to address his supporters directly.
The Democrats criticized the planned disruptive action in Congress as deeply undemocratic. But the project has also met with a lot of criticism in the Republican Party. The Republican leadership in the Senate had expressly opposed it. Various high-ranking Republicans rated the project as dangerous.
The meeting will be chaired by incumbent US Vice President Mike Pence. Trump increased the pressure on his deputy to intervene in this role in order to overturn the result after all. “If Vice President Mike Pence stands up for us, we will win the presidency,” wrote Trump on Twitter on Wednesday night. Trump had previously claimed that the Vice President had the power to “fraudulently” reject selected voters. However, the law only allows Pence to have a ceremonial role at the gathering.