UPDATED Russian President Vladimir Putin will not recognize Joe Biden as U.S. President elect until the results are officially announced, a Kremlin spokesman revealed on Monday.
“We believe it’s correct to wait for the official results of the elections to be announced,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to Russian state-run TASS news agency.
Donald Trump has not conceded defeat. Biden’s win is based on projections.
Putin had congratulated Trump within hours of his victory in 2016. Peskov said that the difference between then and in 2020 is that there is a “legal dispute of the results.”
“In any case, we hope that we’ll be able to establish a dialogue and agree together on ways to normalize our bilateral relations with the next U.S. President,” Peskov said. “A significant part of these bilateral relations, meaning stability and security, concerns not only our two nations but the nations of the whole world.”
Global figures looked on in fascination at the “explosive” U.S. presidential election race between incumbent Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden, which remains undecided as votes are counted in a handful of swing states.
Trump’s false declaration in the early hours of Wednesday that he “did win this election” has polarized the international community. While some political figures remain diplomatic in their outlook, Trump’s performance in the election appears to have also galvanized right-leaning commentators and politicians around the world.
In Germany, a long-time ally of the U.S., senior politicians did not hold back in their disdain for election night antics. Germany’s Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has accused President Trump of thrusting the U.S. into a “battle for legitimacy” with his declaration of victory. Referring to a possible “constitutional crisis” that was predicted by political experts, Kramp-Karrenbauer told German broadcaster ZDF that the situation is “explosive.”
However, America’s political impasse only excited comment in Russia. According to the Moscow Times, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, said, “Biden might get a lot of votes, but Donald Trump will still emerge the winner because he’s done more for Americans than any president before him. That’s considering that he faced obstruction from the very first day.”
Zhirinovsky held that Americans are “tired of anarchy” and that the country “is experiencing the same turmoil — pogroms, looting and violence — that we in Russia lived through 400 years ago.”
“America is more divided than ever. The situation is extremely fraught and the conflict will build up, in my opinion, while I’m afraid anarchy will take hold in some cities, as we’ve seen,” added Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov. “I think that Biden, seeing that he is losing, might call for mass unrest. The situation is heating up.”
Elsewhere, Slovenia Prime Minister Janez Jansa made a premature announcement of his own via a Twitter post on Wednesday morning, when election results were far from decided. “It’s pretty clear that American people have elected @realDonaldTrump @Mike_Pence for #4moreyears. More delays and facts denying from #MSM, bigger the final triumph for #POTUS. Congratulations @GOP for strong results across the #US @idualliance.”
The post has since been flagged by Twitter with a caution that reads, “Official sources may not have called the race when this was Tweeted.”
It’s pretty clear that American people have elected @realDonaldTrump @Mike_Pence for #4moreyears. More delays and facts denying from #MSM, bigger the final triumph for #POTUS. Congratulations @GOP for strong results across the #US @idualliance pic.twitter.com/vzSwt9TBeF
— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) November 4, 2020
In Spain, paper of record El País referred to Trump’s victory proclamation and legal threat as a “serious institutional crisis,” while local journalists in France also slammed Trump for spreading fake news and attempting to corrupt the voting system. However, the U.S. president had a supporter in Marine Le Pen, leader of the Far Right movement, who applauded Trump’s performance during a morning show on news channel CNews.
“The media, as usual, wants to see the world as it wishes and not as it is! It’s a close election: after four years, lots of Americans support @realDonaldTrump and consider that his track record is good,” tweeted Le Pen, who ran for president in France during the 2017 election.
📺 « La classe médiatique, comme d'habitude, veut voir le monde tel qu'elle le souhaite et non tel qu'il est ! L'élection est serrée : après quatre ans, beaucoup d'Américains soutiennent @realDonaldTrump et considèrent que son bilan est bon. » #Elections2020 #LaMatinale @CNEWS pic.twitter.com/mu9gtcK2iL
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) November 4, 2020
While a tight-lipped U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday morning that “we don’t comment as a U.K. government on the democratic processes of our friend and allies,” Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Brexit party and election campaigner for Trump, was among the first to comment in the early hours. Farage defended Trump, and made clear his own scepticism of the postal ballot system.
“I think his comments tonight are out of frustration and I’m not surprised,” said Farage, speaking to BBC News.
“What he’s talking about is the potential of voter fraud, and what he was especially talking about was the idea of late votes coming in. And that clearly shouldn’t be allowed now,” continued Farage. “I’m personally very anti-postal voting in totality, but I guess, during a pandemic, that option had to be offered.”
When the BBC asked Farage whether there was any evidence of postal fraud, Farage said that it was so new that it hadn’t come to light yet.
Broadcaster Piers Morgan, meanwhile, was less charitable towards Trump, and said the U.S. president “had just launched an unprecedented assault on American democracy, demanding millions of Americans are denied their votes, & it’s an absolute disgrace.”
President Trump has just launched an unprecedented assault on American democracy, demanding millions of Americans are denied their votes, & it’s an absolute disgrace.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 4, 2020
U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab remained confident that relations between the U.S. and U.K. will remain “in good shape” no matter which presidential candidate wins.
“I’m confident there is an excellent free trade deal to be done; there’s been a lot of progress so far,” Raab told Sky News. “Let’s wait and see what the outcome is. There is obviously a significant amount of uncertainty. It is much closer than many had expected, but this is for the American people to decide, and we’re confident in the American institutions that will produce a result.”
Raab also spoke glowingly about the “bedrock” of shared values and economic ties and security co-operation between the two nations, noting that the relationship would be “even stronger” going forward. Raab remained resolutely diplomatic and refused to be drawn on Trump’s remarks despite being repeatedly questioned by the BBC and Sky.
In contrast, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was more candid in his evaluation on Twitter: “Dear American friends…The reputation of democracy is at stake and the world is watching. Please proceed carefully.”
Dear American friends… The reputation of democracy is at stake and the world is watching. Please proceed carefully.
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) November 4, 2020
In Italy, nail-biting over the U.S. election outcome re-ignited an old justice system controversy pitting the two countries. “Whatever happens, the next four years can’t be as bad as that four-year study abroad I did in Italy, right?” tweeted Amanda Knox, the former exchange student from Seattle who was held in Italian custody for four years on murder charges in the stabbing death of British student Meredith Kercher before her 2009 conviction was overturned.
The tweet drew the ire of some in the Italian industry, with actor and media personality Selvaggia Lucarelli tweeting in response, “They could be worse, yes. They could look like what ended the years of Meredith’s study abroad.”