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Spain’s Rajoy congratulates Donald Trump

Source: El Pais - Wed 9th Nov 2016
Spain’s Rajoy congratulates Donald Trump

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday congratulated Donald Trump on his stunning win in the US presidential elections.

“My congratulations to Donald Trump for his victory. We will continue to work on strengthening the relationship that unites us with the US – an indispensable ally,” tweeted Rajoy on hearing the news.

“The people have made their voice heard, revealing once more the vitality of US democracy,” added the Spanish leader in a telegram sent to the man set to become the 45th president of the United States.

Foreign minister Alfonso Dastis also affirmed there were “excellent perspectives” in terms of consolidating and strengthening links between the US, adding that the Spanish government had been equally prepared for a Trump victory or a Clinton victory.”

But Dastis also noted that while Trump had given a new look to US politics, the magnate would have to work within the institutional framework as he shaped the future direction of the country and its foreign affairs.

Spain’s main opposition party, the Socialists (PSOE), meanwhile expressed their concern over the victory of Trump.

“We have a completely different vision to his, in terms of economics, social policy and international politics,” said Ricardo Cortés, the PSOE spokesperson on foreign affairs and the EU.

However, Cortés said people should “have confidence in the institutions and the mechanisms of control of US democracy” while congratulating the people of the US for having “democratically elected their next president”.

The comments in the wake of one of the biggest political upsets in modern history, and one that saw global markets plunge on Wednesday after the Republican candidate swept to victory.

Fears of a Trump presidency were evident at the opening of trading in Europe, where stock exchanges in London, Frankfurt and Paris fell.

The UK's FTSE 100 index was initially down 82 points, or 1.2%, to 6,761.10 in the opening minutes of trading.

Other major European stock markets were also lower, with money flowing into safe haven stocks, gold and currencies including the yen.

Traders had expected Hillary Clinton to beat Trump, who has never held public office, to become the next US president. Wall Street had been pricing in a Clinton win. When Trump won the US states of Florida and Ohio, the peso fell to a historic low of 20.44 to the dollar.

The Mexican peso has been a barometer of the ups and downs of the Trump campaign in recent months, given fears that the incoming president will cut trade ties with its southern neighbor.

Spain’s IBEX index of 35 leading companies opened down 3.92%: BBVA shed 8.5%, Gamesa lost 8.5% in value, IAG, 7%, and Mapfre, 5.9%.

However, Spain’s risk premium opened relatively calm, bearing in mind the jitters wreaking havoc on the rest of the markets. It rose five points on the benchmark German bond to 112 basis points.

The IBEX index also regained ground throughout the morning to be down 1.05% at the close of trading.

The Trump strength in this election is similar to what happened during the surprise Brexit vote, which was characterized by untrustworthy polls, rising populism and an angry electorate.

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