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Biden and Harris elected to the White House

Joe Biden has been elected as the next President of the United States after beating Donald Trump in a tightly contested election, following a count that stretched on for days after polls had closed.

The closest electoral victory in recent memory will see Biden take up office in January 2021, with Kamala Harris the first Black woman and the first Tamil to become the Vice-President of the United States.

Photograph: Gage Skidmore

Biden pulled ahead of Trump in the key state of Pennsylvania as votes continued to be counted earlier today, giving him the 270 electoral colleges required for victory. The BBCCNN and AP have projected that he has reached 273 electoral college votes, by winning Pennsylvania.

Photograph: Lorie Shaull 

Though Harris has described herself as a “progressive prosecutor” during her time as a district attorney and attorney general in California, however, has faced criticism for her record on criminal justice, failure to embrace more progressive politics and the left of the party. Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan, is a Tamil woman who grew up in Chennai, whilst her father Donald grew up in Jamaica. In her memoir, Harris writes how she would visit Tamil Nadu almost every year and understands small amounts of Tamil. In her address to the Democratic National Convention earlier this year, Harris paid tribute to her 'chithis' - a word in Tamil for aunties.

Read more: Kamala Harris becomes first Black and Tamil woman to run on major US ticket

Harris' Chief of Staff, Rohini Kosoglu, also has a Tamil connection, with both of her parents hailing from Jaffna.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us," tweeted Harris minutes ago. "Let’s get started."

The declaration on Saturday came after tension across the country as ballots were still being counted in several swing states. Trump supporters had protested at stations where votes were being counted, whilst the Republican candidate repeated several false claims of voter fraud. The campaign also filed lawsuits in states where Biden had led.

The overall turnout is projected to be the highest in 120 years at 66.9%.

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