Obama is the next US president
The "glass ceiling" has been shattered as Barack Obama records an historic election victory.
5 November 2008
As the night progressed Tuesday it became clearer and clearer that Sen Barack Obama was on course to become the 44th President of the United States. Again and again US networks predicted that state after state would side with the Illinois senator in the Electoral College.
Sen McCain continued to pick up some states, but he was never able to challenge the early lead that Sen Obama embraked upon as soon as polling stations closed and more and more states were called.
Early in the evening Pennsylvania was called for Sen Obama. A string of other victories followed: Michigan, Illinois and New York all sided with him.
The crucial moment came when Ohio was called for Sen Obama. The state has 20 votes in the Electoral College and went to President Bush and the Republicans in 2004.
Sen Obama also managed to take smaller states like New Mexico and Iowa from the Republicans.
It was not all bad news for the Republicans. Sen McCain won Kentucky and southern states like South Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee as well as conservative states including North Dakota and Wyoming.
As night turned into morning in Brussels it became clearer and clearer that Sen Obama would take the 270 votes in the Electoral College needed to make him the 44th president of the United States.
McCain concedes defeat
In was Washington State that took Sen Obama's tally over that magic number.
Minutes later Sen McCain conceded defeat in a particularly generous speech. He acknowledged he was disappointed, but said tomorrow he intended to carry on to get the US working again.
The Arizona senator asked his supporters to show the good will to find a way to ensure that Americans could come together again.
"Victory belongs to you"
Shortly before 6 AM president elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech in Chicago. The senator thanked his opponent Sen John McCain, the vice president elect Joe Biden and his family.
He told the people of America that the victory belonged to them and announced that change had come.
He also spoke of his determination to heal the differences that prevent progress.
The president elect also had a message for the international community saying that a new dawn of American leadership was at hand.
House stays Democrat too
In addition to the presidential race Americans were also asked to cast their vote for the House of Representatives, part of the Senate and many other assemblies and propositions. Here too there was good news for the Democrats who retained control of the House of Representatives.
In the Senate the Democrats won six seats from the Republicans.
Belgium Premier Yves Leterme has sent the new US President elect his congratulations:
Dear Mr. Senator,
I send you my warmest congratulations on your victory at the Presidential election.
Our countries and peoples maintain a true friendship, based on common values and a lasting sense of solidarity.
Your inauguration as the 44th President of the United States of America coincides with a time when the expectations of the people towards their political leaders are high. There are many challenges ahead, in particular the financial crisis and the economic slowdown, the climate change, the need to preserve social cohesion and, finally, the challenges in the field of peace and security.
I am looking forward to work closely with you in order to find common solutions to these challenges.