With the U.S. election looming, Europe weighs risk of a disputed result

With the U.S. election looming, Europe weighs risk of a disputed result


Brussels / Berlin / London: Less than three weeks before the US Presidential elections, European capitals are concerned about the risk of controversial results and their impact on the United States and abroad.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden led the polls, and the 2016 election saw a rift between universal suffrage and the electoral college. Analysts say it is still possible on November 3.

As U.S. election looms, Europe weighs risk of a disputed result | ReutersSince Trump is unclear whether he will accept a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, and is hinting that the Supreme Court may need to rule the winner, the risk of a disputed outcome is immense.

A British gambling company suggested 9/4 saying Trump will lose the popular vote but be reelected, indicating the odds are 69%. A Bank of America poll of global fund managers found that 60% of people expected the results to be disputed.

In the major European capitals, many people are quietly hoping that the general election will lead to the change of president and changes in US policy on climate, trade, NATO and Iran’s nuclear deal. People are generally cautious.

“The majority of EU governments hope for a Biden victory, although no one would say that,” said one EU diplomat.

“Governments are looking at scenarios, contingency plans, although it remains to be seen what could be done in the case of Trump contesting the result.”

Doubtful whether he would accept this result, German officials have been pondering the impact for months. One person said, “We have analyzed what can happen in different situations.”

In the past, presidential elections have been controversial. For example, when attorneys for Al Gore and George W. Bush spent a month in 2000 discussing a retrial in Florida, the Supreme Court finally passed judgment on Bush.

Officials said, but this dispute could take longer and be more difficult to predict, including the risk of street violence, legal challenges and Trump’s refusal to leave the White House.

U.S. Election 2020 | ReutersFor a country that is already racially and politically polarized and is fighting the coronavirus, this will have dire consequences.

Washington has a trade dispute with China and is trying to influence Yemen from the South China Sea. Controversial results could jeopardize a leadership vacuum that Beijing, Moscow or Pyongyang are trying to exploit. Geopolitical scientists, for example, are concerned that China can take on Taiwan.

For the United Kingdom, this could bring more uncertainty as a possible no-deal Brexit begins on January 1 and London is trying to reach a trade agreement with Washington.

Britain’s Foreign Office says it is “ready for any outcome”.

For France, this could mean the difference between the complete withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement or the possibility of rejoining it under Biden’s leadership.

NATO hopes that regardless of whether Trump or Biden wins, the United States will make a firm commitment. Eastern European countries that have been vigilant towards Russia hope to fulfill the United States’ security obligations, including increasing the number of troops in Poland.

“There are several concerns – one is that Trump will be reelected,” said a senior EU official. “The other big concern is that there might be violence on the streets in the U.S. after the elections.”

Some European officials feel more confident now about Biden winning.

“I think the game’s almost over,” said one. “For a long time we thought Trump would do it, but now, I don’t see it.”

In Brussels, however, officials are concerned that Trump’s return will mean four more years of tension. They prepare for each result and hope that the result will be accepted.

An official said that if Trump disagrees, “it will paralyze Washington.” Brussels will have to think “how fast the rat is from the sinking ship”, including how fast Trump’s Republican Party is.

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