Americans elected Democrat Barack Obama as their president Tuesday, in a transformational election which will reshape US politics and reposition the United States on the world stage.
Obama, 47, will be inaugurated the 44th US president on January 20, 2009, and inherit an economy mired in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a nuclear showdown with Iran.
He will take office with Democrats holding a monopoly in power in Washington, after an epochal election which sparked a rare generational and political realignment and finally snuffed out an era of Republican control.
Obama is promising to renew bruised ties with US allies, and to engage some of the most fierce US foes like Iran and North Korea.
He has vowed to pass tackle climate change and provide health care to all Americans.
His presidency also marks a stunning cultural shift, with Obama, the son of Kenyan father and white mother from Kansas, the first African American president of a nation still riven by racial divides.
With a stunning grassroots political movement, powered by massive multi-million dollar fundraising, Obama first beat Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party’s then preeminent political machine.
Obama strode towards victory on Tuesday by capturing the states of Pennsylvania, the key battleground which McCain needed to win to keep his long-shot hopes of victory alive.
In a sweet moment for Democrats, he also seized the midwestern battleground of Ohio and captured New Mexico and Iowa, two states won by Bush in 2004 to close out McCain’s possible route towards the White House.
McCain had argued that Obama was too inexperienced to be US commander in chief and would pursue “socialist” redistribution policies that would leave the economy mired in recession.
McCain, 72, an Arizona senator, would have been the oldest man ever inaugurated for a first term in the White House. – AFP/vm