Trump prematurely claims victory as world waits nervously, impatiently for U.S. vote count

A TV screen shows images of U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a news program, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)A TV screen shows images of U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a news program, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A man wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus reads the headlines about the U.S. presidential elections at a newspapers stand in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. The world is watching as millions of Americans cast their ballots for the next president on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)A man wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus reads the headlines about the U.S. presidential elections at a newspapers stand in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. The world is watching as millions of Americans cast their ballots for the next president on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives with his wife Jill Biden to speak to supporters Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives with his wife Jill Biden to speak to supporters Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

From Ford Model T cars that popped off the assembly line in just 90 minutes to 60-second service for burgers, the United States has had a major hand in making the world a frenetic and impatient place, primed and hungry for instant gratification.

So waking up to the news Wednesday that the winner of the U.S. election might not be known for hours, days or longer — pundits filled global airwaves with their best bets — was jarring for a planet weaned on that most American of exports: speed.

In the absence of an immediate winner between President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden, the guessing game of trying to figure out which of them would end up in the White House, and how, quickly turned global. Government leaders scrambled to digest the delay and ordinary people swapped views, hopes and fears on feeds and phones.

“I’m hearing it may take some time before things are sorted out,” said the finance minister of Japan, Taro Aso. “I have no idea how it may affect us.”

In Paris, a Spanish resident, Javier Saenz, was stunned to wake up without a declared winner.

WATCH: Trump wins Florida, locked in other tight races with Biden

“I thought there was going to be something clear. And I have read different articles, no one really knows who is going to win,” he said. “I am very shocked by that.”

But the lack of result was not that surprising to experts — and not, in an of itself, an indication that anything was wrong. In a year turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, many states made it easier to vote by mail. That meant a slowdown in compiling results because postal ballots mail often take longer to process than those cast at polling places.

Still, the unease of not knowing was mixing with sharpening concerns about how America might heal after the divisive election and anxieties fueled by Trump’s own extraordinary and premature claims of victory and his threat to take the election to the Supreme Court to stop counting.

From Europe, in particular, came appeals for patience and a complete tally of votes. In Slovenia, the birthplace of first lady Melania Trump, the right-wing prime minister, Janez Jansa, claimed it was “pretty clear that American people have elected Donald Trump,” but he was a lonely voice among leaders in jumping ahead of any firm outcome.

The German vice chancellor, Olaf Scholz, insisted on a complete tally, saying: “It is important for us that everything be counted and in the end we have a clear result.”

The main industry lobbying group in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, warned that business confidence could be damaged by sustained uncertainty. And the German defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said that “the battle over the legitimacy of the result — whatever it will look like — has now begun.”

“This is a very explosive situation. It is a situation of which experts rightly say it could lead to a constitutional crisis in the U.S.,” she said on ZDF television. “That is something that must certainly worry us very much.”

In financial markets, investors struggled to make sense of it all, sending some indexes up and others down.

In the vacuum of no immediate winner, there was some gloating from Russia, Africa and other parts of the world that have repeatedly been on the receiving end of U.S. criticism, with claims that the election and the vote count were exposing the imperfections of American democracy.

“Africa used to learn American democracy, America is now learning African democracy,” tweeted Nigerian Sen. Shehu Sani, reflecting a common view from some on a continent long used to troubled elections and U.S. criticism of them.

In Zimbabwe, the ruling ZANU-PF party’s spokesman, Patrick Chinamasa, said: “We have nothing to learn about democracy from former slave owners.”

Traditional U.S. allies clung to the belief that regardless of whether Trump or Biden emerged as the winner, the fundamentals that have long underpinned some of America’s key relationships would survive the uncertainty and the U.S. electoral process.

“Whatever the result of the election, they will remain our allies for many years and decades, that is certain,” said Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market.

That idea was echoed by the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, who told a parliamentary session that “the Japan-U.S. alliance is the foundation of Japanese diplomacy, and on that premise I will develop solid relationship with a new president.”

John Leicester, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpJoe BidenU.S. election

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A ceremony to celebrate a land donation from Teck to the Elkford Housing Society took place on Thursday, January 16.
Elkford Housing Society gets funding for affordable homes

22 homes for seniors and people with disabilities will be built on land donated by Teck

Kimberley RCMP respond to vehicle collision near Wasa.
RCMP attends vehicle that caught fire after colliding with elk near Wasa

The Kimberley RCMP attended the scene of a vehicle that collided with… Continue reading

Lois Ehman receives her award from vice principal of Rocky Mountain Elementary School, Thomas Skelton, on behalf of Chrisy Hill. (Photo Contributed)
Rocky Mountain principal, Lois Ehman, awarded CBAL’s Community Literacy Award

The annual award recognizes those dedicated to promoting literacy within the Elk Valley

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Update: Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections, 4 in ICU

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital, 4 in intensive care

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
Local COVID-19 cases unknown amid second wave

The Elk Valley Physicians have again reminded locals to comply with public health orders to stay safe

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stock photo courtesy Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca.
Double-murder trial in case of Cranbrook couple killed adjourned until January

The trial was adjourned following an application from the defence related to COVID-19

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

(stock photo)
Josh Dueck named Team Canada chef de mission for 2022 Beijing Paralympics

Dueck, who was born in Kimberley, has a long career in international competition as a sit-skier.

Most Read