The November election is over

What November election? And why has it taken eight months to conclude?
At the beginning of November 2008, the Americans elected a new President, all of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate. But one Senate seat was so closely contested that only this week has the final result been declared. The Democrat Al Franken beat his Republican opponent Norm Coleman by a mere 312 votes out of a total of 2.9 million in the state of Minnesota.
It is not just the people of Minnesota who have been holding their breath. The resut has profound implications for the US Congress and indeed for the world.
When Franken takes his seat in the Senate, the Democrats for the first time in three decades will potentially have 60 of the 100 seats in the chamber, possibly an unassailable majority that means they can overcome Republican blocking tactics, such as filibustering. This is because Franken will bring the total number of Democrats to 58 and there are also two independents who normally vote with them.
But on some issues Obama cannot be sure of the support of all 58 Democrats or the two independents. About 20 Democrats, though socially liberal, are conservative on fiscal matters. Also another reason why the 60-seat majority is not as solid as it seems is the ill health of two Democrats, Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd, both of whom are often absent from the chamber.
Nothing is simple or stable in politics.
Full story here


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