Trump's in... So what happens next?
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Donald Trump's somewhat unexpected victory in the US election doesn't mean that things will change straight away. With a long process of negotiation and transfer of power ahead, Trump will not assume the presidency until early next year. So what next?
The transition of powerPresident Obama today congratulated Trump over the phone and congratulated him on his election win. The two also arranged a meeting at the White House on Thursday, during which they will discuss the transfer of power - which does not happen immediately after the election, unlike in the UK. If all goes as expected Trump is likely to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on 20th January 2017, when Obama's term will end. Until then, he will be recognised as President-elect. Over the next two months, he willl have to recruit staff to fill key positions at the White House and other national offices controlled by the President, including the Office of Policy Development, the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council. Obama and the current congress will now be known as "lame ducks", meaning that their successors have been identified. Although Congress itself will be undergoing reshuffling while leadership positions are filled, being a "lame duck" may actually allow Obama more legislative freedom in the final days of his presidency, as Congress is still free to vote on and approve legislation from Obama and some members may now be more willing to vote on bills that they may not have considered when running for re-election.
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An increasingly fragile economy?Global markets have varied wildly in the wake of Trump's win. The Mexican Peso reached its lowest level against the dollar in over two decades last night - perhaps due to Trump's ambition to build a border wall and send Mexicans living in the US back to their home country, while the DOW lost over 500 points. However the post-election picture may now be looking more positive. Many US Markets, including the DOW and the S&P500 have opened with no losses, while shares in plant companies rose in anticipation of Trump's infrastructure plan. These short term signals will be influenced by the policy direction Trump sets out over the next few days - as one financial expert put it, the "unifying Trump" seen in his victory speech could encourage calm on the markets and increase the value of government bonds, but the protectionist "anti-trade" Trump seen during the campaign could cause shares to fall further as the US market is closed off to global entrants. Much of the path ahead for Trump currently remains uncertain. As staff and advisers are appointed over the next few days, we are likely to get more of an idea of his policy direction and how he will approach political issues. But, given the unpredictable nature of the Trump campaign, we may have to wait until he enters the White House to find out.
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