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Nov 8, 2000

U.S. election still not resolved

It is not often we lead this newscast with news that does not originate in Belize, but when the most powerful country in the world is on the brink of a crisis… Belize needs to pay attention. In case you haven’t noticed, the race for the U.S. presidency is currently unresolved as officials in the state of Florida are engaged in a recount of votes. Under Florida law when two candidates are within a half percentage point of each other, a recount must be held. As it stands, after nearly six million Floridians voted, Bush leads by only a tiny seventeen hundred vote margin. When the counting is completed sometime Thursday, whoever wins will be awarded all twenty-five of Florida’s electoral votes and thus gain a majority in the electoral college. What many U.S. citizens discovered only upon waking this morning, is that the winner of the popular vote does not necessarily win the presidency. Democrat Al Gore has in fact won the popular vote, but may lose the electoral vote and the presidency because of the particular process outlined in the U.S. Constitution. That system is one we in the Commonwealth are familiar with in that it is not so different in concept from our own first-past-the-post system. While the U.S.A. has not elected a president who lost the popular vote in over a century, Belize has a far more recent experience with the same phenomenon. In 1993 the People’s United Party won the total popular vote, but still lost the election to the UDP, sixteen seats to thirteen. Just as the Belizean public accepted the outcome as resting firmly within the rules of the game, so it is expected that our friends to the north will do the same… provided nobody gets ignorant. And how will this situation effect Belize? Most likely not at all, except in the broad sense that when the USA sneezes, Belize catches pneumonia. A weak and confused America in which the president has no mandate, cannot lead itself, let alone the hemisphere and world. And that is why we watch the U.S. newscasts with a fair share of concern.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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