Joe Biden set to become 46th president after winning US election

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

After four years of turmoil, misinformation, manipulation and division America has chosen Democrat Joe Biden as its 46th president. The result of this historic presidential election offers fresh promise for democracy and progress.

Biden was declared the president-elect after the AP announced he had won Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, putting him over the threshold of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

Kamala Harris will become the first woman, the first African American and the first Asian American to serve as vice president.

The long and often bitter campaign has been dominated by the coronavirus crisis and its effects on Americans and the economy.

Joe Biden won more votes than any other presidential candidate in US history, approaching 75 million. However, Donald Trump also beat previous records.

In a written statement by Biden on Saturday,he said he was "honoured and humbled" by the trust the American people have placed in him.

"In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America," Biden said. "With the campaign over, it's time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation."

Biden called on the nation to unite and heal now that the election is over. “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said.

Protests have broken out in battleground states after Mr Trump claimed without evidence that the election was being “stolen” from him in an extraordinary speech which has been criticised by both Democrats and Republicans.

Facing a deeply polarised country, Biden had tried to project comity and patience, and his desire to unite America.

"There will not be blue states and red states when we win. Just the United States of America," Biden said Wednesday afternoon. "We are not enemies. What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything that can tear us apart."

Trump has so far refused to concede. Shortly after Biden was declared the winner, Trump released a statement saying, “The simple fact is this election is far from over.”

Trump, who was on the golf course when many of the networks called the race for the former vice president. While en route to his course in Virginia, he tweeted: "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!"

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “The US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.”

Latin American leaders, including the presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay, have started offering their congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Investors and financial executives took a big sigh of relief on Saturday after major networks declared Democrat Joe Biden winner of the US presidential election, offering some certainty after days of conflicting reports about who might run the White House next term.

Elsewhere,Former President Barack Obama released a statement that served as testimonial to the character of his former vice president and asked Americans to set aside their political differences and give him a chance.

"When he walks into the White House in January, he'll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has -- a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril," Obama wrote. "I know he'll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote."

Biden will also win Nevada, it has been projected, widening his Electoral College lead as ballots continue to be counted around the country. Georgia could head to a recount and votes were still trickling in from Arizona, where Biden is maintaining an edge.

Who is Joe Biden?

Biden was born on November 20, 1942. He grew up in the blue-collar city of Scranton in northeast Pennsylvania. His father, Joseph Biden Sr., worked cleaning furnaces and as a used car salesman. His mother was Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan.

As a child, Biden struggled with a stutter, and kids called him "Dash" and "Joe Impedimenta" to mock him. He eventually overcame his speech impediment by memorising long passages of poetry and reciting them out loud in front of the mirror.

Joe Biden has wanted to be president for at least 30 years. He first ran in 1988, crashing out in his bid for the Democratic nomination over a plagiarism scandal involving former Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Mr Biden served as vice president in the Obama administration during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and health care remains a top priority for him. It’s an issue he often discusses in the context of his family’s personal tragedies: He lost his first wife and an infant daughter in a car accident in 1972, and in 2015, his son Beau Biden died of brain cancer.

Mr Biden, who served for decades in the Senate, firmly believes in the value of bipartisanship and insists on extending overtures to Republicans.

During his time in the Senate, Biden won respect as one of the body's leading foreign policy experts, serving as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations for several years. His many foreign policy positions included advocating for strategic arms limitation with the Soviet Union, promoting peace and stability in the Balkans, expanding NATO to include former Soviet-bloc nations and opposing the First Gulf War.

Biden credits his parents with instilling in him toughness, hard work and perseverance.

Who is Kamala Harris?

Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, to two immigrant parents: an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father.

After her parents' divorce, Harris was raised primarily by her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist.

She grew up engaged with her Indian heritage, joining her mother on visits to India, but she has said that her mother adopted Oakland's black culture, immersing her and sister Maya within it.

Harris herself ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary but struggled to gain traction in the large field, and dropped out of the race months before Biden was named the party’s presidential nominee.

Harris, who has described herself as a "progressive prosecutor" and "top cop" in her previous roles in California, endorsed the former vice-president, saying she would do everything in her power to help elect him the next President of the United States.

Harris, who has made history as the first Black woman and Asian-American on a major US presidential ticket, said Trump's divisive leadership had brought the country to an "inflection point".

On the campaign trail, Harris rarely discussed her thoughts on her racial heritage in detail, but she has frequently described her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who was born in India, as a mentor.