With the eyes of the world still peeled on the likes of CNN, Sky, FOX and abc, in what seems to be everyone’s welcome break from the daily quest to find out the new COVID numbers, the historic American Presidential Election has turned into one of the most nail-biting pieces of TV in recent history.
Malta is no exception, as people have taken to social media to voice their opinion, and declare their support for their favourite candidate. Bay News spoke to H.E. Keith Azzopardi, Malta’s Ambassador to the United States of America, who is currently in Washington.
We spoke with the Ambassador about the overall sentiment in the capital, about our Maltese nationals who have made the US their home, and about what the election result could mean for Malta’s relations with the US.
“Malta enjoys excellent relations with the USA, on different levels and on various issues. And I don’t foresee any change in this relationship irrespective of whoever will be the next President,” the Ambassador said.
With regards to the EU’s relationship with the USA, which would also include Malta directly and indirectly, the Ambassador said that “we’re all aware of the challenges there have been during the Trump administration, whether it is trade, defense, or climate change.”
With a Biden administration, the Ambassador said, “there could be a change in terms of attitude in this relationship. Yet, one should not think that these challenges would be solved with a magic wand. Having said that, the EU and the USA have been for several decades, still are, and will continue to be major allies. I have no doubt about that.”
The current situation is one which is already characterised by protests and altercations, the US Capital is getting ready for any outcome.
“I must say that there has been quite a tense atmosphere in Washington DC since Tuesday in particular. Mayor Bowser’s appeal to refrain from hanging around downtown DC didn’t seem to fall on deaf ears. In fact, roads were mostly empty and many have preferred to work from home,” H.E. Azzopardi said, adding that “most shops could be seen boarding up in anticipation of demonstrations and possible unrest following the announcement of the election results.”
Donald Trump has already given quite controversial statements about the eventual result, should he lose the election, which is what the situation is looking like at the moment. These included threats to take the result to the Supreme Court, and filing lawsuits and recount requests. But will American have a new President come January?
The Ambassador told us that the US Constitution’s 20th Amendment requires the president and vice president to end their terms of office on January 20th at noon in the year following the election. “Therefore any dispute would have to be settled by December, with the most notable example is the Bush vs Gore ruling by the Supreme Court in December 2000,” he told Bay.
Finally, Maltese people and politics have a long-standing love-hate relationship. We were curious to know whether this characteristic applies in the States – and to our surprise, it does, though with a tiny difference.
“Our diaspora is mainly based in the New York, Michigan, and San Francisco area, and during every opportunity I’ve had to meet our communities before the pandemic started, I can say that most refrained from discussing politics. But I’m aware that there are many staunch Republicans and quite a number of Democrats’ supporters. For whichever reason that could be, Maltese still seems to be so much keen about politics even here in the US,” Ambassador Azzopardi told us.