Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. won the 2020 US Elections, becoming the President-elect, with his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America being planned for January 20th, 2021.

After a turbulent election week, delayed by prolonged counting, due to an increased number of mail-in ballots and early votes, as well as allegations of voter fraud. The fog eventually cleared, and Joe Biden has come out victorious, with decisive upsets in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Some results have been highly disputed, and the Trump campaign has already called for a recount in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona. Despite all this, everything points towards Biden beating Trump, 306 to 232 Electoral College votes.


Senate and House of Representatives

Joe Biden is experienced for the office, having already served two terms as US’ Vice-President under the Obama administration, as well as six terms as Senator of Delaware.  His presidential campaign was based on being an experienced, traditional American politician, with an old-fashioned appeal and charismatic honesty.

With Biden at the helm, it feels like Washington’s future will be predictable and optimistic, unlike the last four years of Donald Trump’s erratic presidency.

The first two years of Biden’s mandate, however, will highly depend on the outcome of Georgia’s Senate runoff race. If Democrats can secure both seats, the Senate will be split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, with Kamala Harris, the Vice-President, serving as tiebreaker. As the House of Representatives is already held by Democrats, it would be considerably easier for Biden to pass some of his more ambitious policies, that stem from a more progressive wing of the party if both chambers were held by Democrats. Biden managed to gather the support of these progressive members of the Democratic Party, following his nomination for the Presidency. The impact of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s and Bernie Sanders’s policies, if passed, could bring a substantial shift not only to American politics, but also to its socio-economic structure.

On the other hand, if Democrats are unable to secure both Senate seats, Biden must wait until 2022 to try to obtain a Senate majority, when 34 Senate seats will be up for election. Until then, Biden would have to strive for Bipartisan measures, that would be less ambitious than his proposed measures, especially regarding a new tax plan and healthcare bill.


What can we expect of Biden’s Presidency?

Biden has already stated that on his first day in office, he will rejoin both the Paris Climate Deal and the World Health Organization, following Trump’s unexpected withdrawal from both these agreements, in 2017 and April of this year, respectively.

It has been made clear by the elected President, that he will tackle this pandemic with a science-based approach, appointing a task force of scientists led by Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Biden administration will also have to face the current crisis that was brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be one of the major hurdles to surpass, as restructuring the economy will be vital to ensure that the American Economy overcomes this crisis. The plan is to primarily help low-income families, as they were the most affected by the current crisis, by encouraging the creation of small businesses and their expansion to economically disadvantaged areas. These areas are predominantly inhabited by minorities, and these measures would allow for greater racial equity throughout all social classes and ethnicities.

In the long-run, Biden plans to take concise action towards fighting Climate Change, seeking to invest $2 trillion to boost clean energy and rebuild deteriorating infrastructure. According to Biden, the US is currently facing “A Child Care Emergency”. To tackle it, he plans to invest $775 billion to lower the cost of and expand the access to healthcare for Americans. To raise funding to apply these measures, the Biden administration plans a tax increase on people earning over $400.000 a year, as well as multi-million dollar companies, who benefited from tax cuts under the Trump Administration. However, as mentioned before, these highly ambitious, but ground-breaking measures, are extremely difficult to be approved in a Republican-controlled Senate.


Biden’s plan on Foreign Affairs

Biden has clearly stated that he intends to revitalize the Iran Nuclear Deal, following Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from it, correcting the subsequent unforgiving economic sanctions that plummeted the Irani economy into a deep recession with soaring inflation and shortages of basic goods.

The election of Biden for President was not the desired outcome for Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as Biden announced he would reassess the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. He further declared he will demand accountability over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist murdered inside the Saudi consulate, in Istanbul. The military support provided to Saudi Arabia by the US government in the Yemeni Civil War has also been questioned due to the increased death toll of civilians by Saudi Air and Drone strikes. This contrasts Mohammed bin Salman’s relationship with Donald Trump, who in 2019 referred his Saudi counterpart as “a good friend of mine”, after deciding not to confront the Saudi leader following the murder of Khashoggi.

During his tenure as Vice-President, Joe Biden was highly critical of Putin especially following the annexation of Crimea in 2014. He maintained this rhetoric after Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, was poisoned. However, Biden commented encouragingly the extension of START, the latest nuclear arms reduction pact between Russia and the US, that is set to expire in February.

Regarding China, Biden plans to take a more measured and multilateral approach to “pressure, punish and isolate China”, than the Trump administration’s barrage of sanctions on Beijing. 

“This is the time to heal America”

In his victory speech, the President-Elect displayed empathy and tried to reach out to those who did not vote for him. Essentially, Joe Biden attempted to convey a positive message that sought to reunite the American people, following a tumultuous election.

“To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans. They are Americans.”

— Joe Biden in his victory speech

For now, one must wait until the Electoral College meets to officially declare Joe Biden the President-elect, as Donald Trump has not yet conceded, and is still trying to fight a legal battle to annul what he deemed to be “illegal votes”. Only time will tell if Biden will be able to unify and heal a country deeply split by polarizing issues, that range from police brutality and institutional racism, to gun control and immigration. Without this unity, it will be even more demanding to ensure the US can come out of the current crisis stronger, as they did many times before, as a country.

Sources: Aljazeera, CNBC, EuroNews, Financial Times, Futurism, Reuters, The New York Times.

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The November 2019 Spanish Elections: What to Expect

In December 2015, the conservative Popular Party’s government of Mariano Rajoy, while it won the general election, lost its absolute majority in the Congress of Deputies and had the party’s worst result since 1989. From that year onwards, no party has been able to form a long-lasting government. This political instability has led Spain to hold its fourth general election in four years tomorrow. Will this election finally relieve Spain from the ongoing period of political crisis?

April’s Elections

Image 1: Pedro SanchezImage 1: Pedro Sanchez

A minority government, Pedro Sanchez’s Spanish Socialist and Worker’s Party (PSOE) took office in June 2018, following a motion of no confidence1 that took down the government of Mariano Rajoy. The ousted prime-minister’s Popular Party (PP) was involved in a corruption scandal involving several of its high-ranking members, leading to a severe drop in its popularity. However, Sanchez called for a new general election in April of this year, after he failed to gather support in the Congress of Deputies to pass his budget for 2019.

In the last elections, the PSOE gathered a substantial 29% of the votes, but although it was the party’s first win since 2008, it was short of a majority to govern2. Vox, a far-right party opposing unrestricted migration and multiculturalism, won 10% of the votes and entered the Chamber of Deputies for the first time. The Popular Party (PP) met a historical defeat (16.7% of the votes).

Since the PSOE failed to win an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies, it needed backing from other parties. Once again, Sanchez’s inability to secure support this time to form a government is what led to the new November 2019 elections. He called for the elections after failed discussions with Unidas Podemos (UP), a coalition of left-wing parties and Sanchez’s most obvious choice, after disagreements over government ministers and the amount of involvement of the UP in the new government.

Polls: analysis of most likely results 

The latest polls by the Office for Social Studies and Public Opinion (GESOP) for the newspaper El Periòdic d’Andorra suggest that we will not see a significantly different political landscape with the November elections, and even report increasing fragmentation, with a smaller win for the PSOE at 26.8%. The PP is expected to see its share of the vote increase to 19.9% after successfully stealing votes from Ciudadanos, a center-right party who surprisingly gathered 16% of the votes in the April elections, and will now see its share more than halved, with the polls predicting a result of 7%. The far-right party VOX is met with a significant increase and should obtain 15.6% of the vote.

Más País, a new far-left splinter party, founded on September 25th, has decided not to run in the constituencies where it could not gather enough support to win seats but could contribute to the loss of seats by other left-wing parties, such as PSOE and UP. Más País is expected to obtain 2.6% of the votes, which has led to the further decrease of the far-left coalition Unidas Podemos to 13% of the vote.

All in all, the PSOE wins without an absolute majority, and probably with fewer seats in the Cortes. The PP will come second, followed by the UP. Ciudadanos will suffer a considerable decrease in votes and seats, as Vox will achieve the opposite. Regarding regionalist and nationalist parties, we do not expect meaningful changes from the previous results.

Graphic 1Graphic 1

What’s next? 

After the elections, we can expect that King Felipe will ask Pedro Sánchez to be the next Prime Minister, and a new round of negotiations among the parties will follow. In order to be PM, Sánchez needs the majority in the Cortes3 to be able to win the investiture vote or at least have most of the opposition MPs abstain during that vote. As for now, it is not expected that those negotiations will produce a different outcome than the ones that followed the elections in April. 

PSOE’s best hope to achieve a majority in parliament is to partner with regionalist parties and the left-wing coalition UP. Even though this might be plausible in mathematical terms, the disagreement points between the PSOE and UP from the last round of negotiations are still valid, making achieving a different outcome unlikely. It does not seem that left-wing parties are ready to make the necessary concessions: the UP wishes to have some ministers of their own, whereas the PSOE wants to form the government alone but backed by parliamentary support. Furthermore, Sánchez recently pointed out that even if an agreement had been reached to form a PSOE-UP government, it would have crumbled during the Catalonian crisis, amid which the UP and its Catalonian coalition Comú Podem have criticized the government’s actions and police intervention. The PSOE is also dependent on the unlikely event that the PP and Ciudadanos do not vote against Sánchez’s investiture. This seems improbable, as the Catalonian crisis accentuated the parties’ differences, and total support from the moderate right-wing opposition to a socialist minority government in the Cortes seems to be an almost unimaginable scenario.  

Without concession, diplomacy and statesmanship, the path to a stable government will be hard to find.

Either a PSOE minority government will be formed, unable to count with a majority and likely to fall at the first difficulty, or Spain will have to face yet another General Election in a few months.  

Image 2Image 2

1 Vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, managerial, etc.) is no longer deemed fit to hold that position.

2 It won an absolute majority in the senate for the first time since 1989, but to govern, they would need 175 out of 350 seats in the Chamber of Deputies

3 Bicameral legislative chambers of Spain – Congress of Deputies and Senate.


  • El Periòdic

  • Wikipedia

  • BBC News

  • The Guardian

  • Vox 

Article Written By:

Ana Catarina Salgado

Ana Maria Terenas

Christian Weber

João Maria Sande e Castro

Rui Ramalhão