Trump, Clin­ton fight to the fin­ish

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/worldwide -

LEES­BURG — White House ri­vals Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump were still flail­ing for a knock­out blow yes­ter­day as a pres­i­den­tial race that has cast a pall over US democ­racy neared its end.

With one day of cam­paign­ing left, both sides had packed sched­ules in the swing states that will de­cide whether the Demo­crat can con­vert her slim opin­ion poll lead into fi­nal vic­tory.

Trump, a pop­ulist ty­coon who co-opted the Repub­li­can Party and cre­ated a rau­cous, na­tivist grass­roots move­ment in his own im­age, was still cam­paign­ing at mid­night on Sunday.

Brand­ing 69-year-old Clin­ton the “most cor­rupt can­di­date ever to seek the of­fice of the pres­i­dency,” he urged sup­port­ers to “de­liver jus­tice at the bal­lot box on Novem­ber 8.”

Clin­ton, the for­mer sec­re­tary of state run­ning to be­come Amer­ica’s first fe­male pres­i­dent, had events planned through mid­night yes­ter­day to take her into polling day it­self.

The Demo­crat spent the last eight days of cam­paign­ing un­der a re­newed FBI in­quiry into whether she had ex­posed US se­crets by us­ing a pri­vate email server at the State De­part­ment.

That bur­den was fi­nally lifted on Sunday, when the FBI con­firmed it would not seek crim­i­nal charges, but at the cost of an­other cy­cle of head­lines about an is­sue that has hurt her.

She tried to end Sunday’s round of ral­lies on a note of op­ti­mism about the US, al­beit couched as a warn­ing that her sup­port­ers need to rise to counter the Trump threat.

“I re­ally want each and ev­ery one of us to think for a mo­ment about how we would feel on Novem­ber 9, if we were not suc­cess­ful,” she said in Manch­ester, New Hamp­shire

“When your kids and grand­kids ask you what you did in 2016, when everything was on the line, I hope you’ll be able to say you voted for a bet­ter, stronger, fairer Amer­ica.”

The world has looked on agog dur­ing the cam­paign, as Trump’s once mocked re­al­ity tele­vi­sion shtick be­came a plau­si­ble ve­hi­cle for vic­tory in a di­vided and sus­pi­cious coun­try.

World mar­kets were rocked last month when the re­newed FBI probe threat­ened to sink Clin­ton’s chances, and Asian ex­changes opened higher after that threat was lifted.

But Trump came back fight­ing, and ex­perts said the re­newed scan­dal had al­ready dam­aged the Demo­cratic for­mer first lady’s chance of suc­ceed­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

Clin­ton’s lead dropped from 5.7 to 2.9 per­cent­age points in the week since the scan­dal re­turned, ac­cord­ing to in­flu­en­tial data jour­nal­ist Nate Sil­ver of FiveThir­tyEight.com.

Trump is pre­dict­ing a bal­lot up­set on a par with Bri­tain’s shock vote this year to quit the Euro­pean Union, or what on Sunday he called: “Brexit plus, plus, plus.”

Clin­ton booked a star-stud­ded ros­ter of sup­port­ers — head­lined by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and rock star Bruce Spring­steen — for her fi­nal events yes­ter­day.

But Trump is also tour­ing key swing states and was de­ter­mined not to let Clin­ton off the hook over her email, a symbol for his sup­port­ers of the cor­rup­tion of the Wash­ing­ton elite.

“The rank and file spe­cial agents of the FBI won’t let her get away with her ter­ri­ble crimes,” Trump told a rally in Michi­gan, a state won com­fort­ably by Obama in 2012.

“Right now she’s be­ing pro­tected by a rigged sys­tem. It’s a to­tally rigged sys­tem. I’ve been say­ing it for a long time,” he de­clared, as his sup­port­ers chanted “Lock her up!”

Late last month, with Clin­ton seem­ingly on a glide path to vic­tory, a re­newed FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Clin­ton’s email use sent shock waves through both cam­paigns.

Trump, the 70-year-old prop­erty ty­coon and Repub­li­can flag-bearer, seized on the open­ing, con­demn­ing Clin­ton’s “crim­i­nal scheme” and ar­gu­ing that she is un­fit to be pres­i­dent.

He has pre­vi­ously threat­ened to re­ject the re­sult of today’s vote if he loses, al­leg­ing that the race has been “rigged” by the me­dia and the es­tab­lish­ment elite.

Opin­ion polls tight­ened as Trump be­gan to re­cover ground he lost after sev­eral women ac­cused him of sex­ual as­sault, and the race looked headed for a photo fin­ish.

Clin­ton made no di­rect ref­er­ence to her re­prieve dur­ing her Sunday cam­paign stops.

In­stead, she ham­mered her op­po­nent over his some­times ugly rhetoric and, im­plic­itly, the al­leged covert Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence that have poi­soned the race.

“There are pow­er­ful forces in­side and out­side of Amer­ica that do threaten to pull us apart,” she said.

“We’ve ar­rived at a mo­ment of reck­on­ing in this elec­tion. Our core val­ues as Amer­i­cans are be­ing tested.”

If Clin­ton wins, she will seek to build on Obama’s cau­tious but pro­gres­sive legacy, in­clud­ing his con­tro­ver­sial health in­sur­ance re­forms.

Trump has vowed to tear up the re­form along with free trade agree­ments, to re­build a “de­pleted” US mil­i­tary and re­view US al­liances.

The lat­est polls give Clin­ton a nar­row na­tional lead of be­tween three and five per­cent­age points, but rolling av­er­ages point to a closer race, with Trump up in some swing states.

Sil­ver has Clin­ton as a two-to-one favourite against Trump, but warned on Sunday that her lead ap­pears “less solid” than Obama’s did be­fore his re-elec­tion vic­tory in 2012. — Al Jazeera ADDIS ABABA — African Union Com­mis­sion head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has called for in­tense di­a­logue over the re­cent protests in Ethiopia, say­ing that it was im­per­a­tive to find last­ing so­lu­tions in the coun­try.

In a state­ment, Dlamini-Zuma said that the Ethiopian gov­ern­ment should en­sure that fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights and free­doms were re­spected as the guide­lines on state of emer­gency were im­ple­mented.

She also urged the gov­ern­ment to en­sure that the in­ter­net which had been re­stricted due to the protests was re­stored.

“The AUC chair­per­son calls for calm and peace dur­ing the pe­riod when the state of emer­gency is in ef­fect, and fur­ther urges the gov­ern­ment to con­sider en­sur­ing that cit­i­zens’ rights to ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing in­ter­net ser­vices and so­cial me­dia are re­stored,” the state­ment said.

Dlamini-Zuma’s re­marks came just less than a week after Ethiopian Prime Min­is­ter Haile­mariam De­salegn an­nounced a cabi­net reshuf­fle that has seen op­po­si­tion lead­ers re­ceiv­ing se­nior roles in gov­ern­ment.

The prime min­is­ter gave key gov­ern­ment po­si­tions to two lead­ers from the Oromo peo­ple who spear­headed deadly anti-gov­ern­ment protests over the last year, re­duc­ing the dom­i­nance of the mi­nor­ity Tigrayans.

Re­ports in­di­cated that pro­test­ers from the ma­jor­ity Oromo and Amhara eth­nic groups had claimed that they were be­ing marginalised by the mi­nor­ity Tigrayan­led gov­ern­ment which they ac­cused of mo­nop­o­lis­ing power and con­trol­ling the econ­omy.

Last month dozens of peo­ple were crushed to death in a stam­pede after po­lice fired tear­gas and rub­ber bul­lets to dis­perse an anti-gov­ern­ment protest that grew out of a mas­sive re­li­gious fes­ti­val last month. At least 52 peo­ple died dur­ing the stam­pede. The gov­ern­ment last re­sponded by im­pos­ing a state of emer­gence that would last at least for six months in or­der to get the coun­try back to nor­mal.

Fol­low­ing a the im­pos­ing of the state of emer­gence and a visit by Ger­many Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, De­salegn said that his gov­ern­ment was plan­ning to re­form the coun­try’s elec­toral elec­toral sys­tem which had ex­cluded the op­po­si­tion. — AFP

Don­ald Trump

Hil­lary Clin­ton

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

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