After a vote count that stretched into ... (Wednesday) morning, Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were locked in one of the most closely contested presidential contests in decades. Mr. Bush's highly provisional lead arose in dramatic fashion, when Florida tilted back toward Mr. Bush's column after the networks had predicted that it would go to Mr. Gore. Then, after 3 a.m., Mr. Gore closed within a few hundred votes in Florida.
As these events attested, it was an election that overturned cliches about voter apathy. But it also reflected tension within the American public on whether to choose Mr. Bush's personality and promises of leadership over Mr. Gore's experience and knowledge of government. ...
Union workers and other mid-to-low-income voters were the keys to Mr. Gore's greater success in ... three crucial states (Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania). Mr. Bush was clearly more popular in the South and West, where he piled up electoral numbers from a long list of smaller states. As the count tightened, there was one cheerful note for those weary of the impact of big-dollar politics. In the closest states the outcomes seemed to depend on such old-fashioned qualities as turnout, party loyalty and economic interests.
As daylight neared, the contest was so close that the networks backed off their projections, and the candidates delayed plans for a concession statement on Mr. Gore's part and a victory statement from Mr. Bush. That brought to a prudent point a political suspense story that may not be resolved until recounts take place in Florida and other closely fought states.
-- The New York Times
U.S. political system sick
The low turnout is one of many signs that
political apathy is spreading. For the poor and the neglected in the world's richest country, it does not matter very much who is sitting in the White House -- they know that he, whoever he is, does not take their problems seriously. The liberal (Democratic candidate Vice President Al) Gore is somewhat better than (Republican nominee George W.) Bush, who is a rightist disguised as a center politician, but neither of them has social and economic justice on their platform.
There is something sick about the U.S. political system. And this year's election campaign has been miserable. The political message and the political platform have been lost in the money and media merry-go-round. Money controls the U.S. elections. It's mostly about getting the well-off, middle class to shuffle off to the ballot boxes, with the help of massive investments in TV commercials.
-- Aftonbladet, Stockholm, Sweden
Le Temps, Geneva, Switzerland, on the new Yugoslav federal government:
As of Saturday, Yugoslavia has a government that is no longer disputed either abroad or at home. But its prime minister, the Montenegrin Zoran Zizic, a former backer of Slobodan Milosevic, will have to work with the sworn enemies of the deposed strongman.
This cohabitation also will be the rule in Serbia until elections Dec. 23.
These accommodations, accompanied sometimes by unexpected personal reversals, are better understood from Belgrade. They are dictated by the Serb and Yugoslav need to find a way out of a suffocating dead end as quickly as possible.
Above all, if men who once were radically opposed to each other now can collaborate, it's because they had similar convictions on the essential questions -- the reasons for Yugoslavia's collapse, the Bosnian and Croatian wars, Kosovo.
But they differed violently on how to carry them through. The opposition argued with difficulty against warmongering and crime; Milosevic's former faithful are now tacitly supporting that stance.
All over the Balkans, moderation seems to be winning. ... There's the seed of a possibility for the southern Slavs of a life together -- the collapse of which the West accepted and sometimes even encouraged at the beginning of the 90s.''
The Jordan Times, Amman, on Jordan's relations with Iraq:
Prime Minister Ali Abu-Ragheb's two-day visit to Iraq, the first trip by an Arab head of government in a decade, has surely ushered in a new chapter in bilateral ties. The much-publicized trip comes in tune with the will of the Jordanian street. It also proved that political differences over Arab-Israeli peacemaking, ties with the U.S. and other issues should not stand as an obstacle toward developing strategic socioeconomic relations and attempting to boost inter-Arab ties in an era of globalization.
Time once again proved that Jordan and Iraq need each other. Iraq remains Jordan's main trade partner and sole supplier of oil and other crude derivatives, while Jordan, which is one of Baghdad's main overland links with the world, can utilize its extensive network of foreign ties to champion Iraq's cause and demand an end to sanctions that have gravely punished Iraqi citizens instead of the regime.
But this will never mean that Jordan can, or will drop its observance of U.N. resolutions related to Iraq, or will allow other parties to engage in sanctions-busting activities, as international legitimacy remains a pillar of Jordanian foreign policy.
End Editorial Rdp
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