What is a lame duck session

US elections : "Open to ideas and suggestions"

Washington - "We will work together in a constructive way, even if we will not always agree," Bush said after meeting with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Bush's decision to nominate the neoconservative Michael Bolton for a further term as UN ambassador caused criticism. EU politicians meanwhile hoped for a change of course in Washington's foreign policy.

In Iraq policy he was "open to ideas and suggestions," said Bush after the meeting with Pelosi in Washington. The deployment of US troops in Iraq required cross-party cooperation. Despite differing views, both sides "stretched out the hand of friendship". Bush and Pelosi rated their exploratory meeting as "constructive" and "productive". Both announced that they would work together in the interests of the country. They did not comment on possible course corrections in Iraq. On Friday, Bush was due to meet with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.

In spite of the positive declarations of intent, the first difficulties with the cooperation became apparent. Democratic MP John Murtha said on CNN that the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was not enough to resolve differences over strategy in Iraq. A deadline must be set for the Iraqis, emphasized Murtha, with a view to the ongoing violence in the country. He also spoke out in favor of an investigation into Washington's approach to the Iraq war. After the Republicans were defeated, the US president announced Rumsfeld's resignation and appointed former CIA director Robert Gates as his successor.

Bush's decision to nominate the neoconservative Bolton for another term as UN ambassador caused further resentment among the Democrats. The Democratic Senator Chris Dodd accused the White House of wanting to push through the personnel in a "lame duck session" in the Senate. The Senate in its previous composition would have to decide on the nomination with a Republican majority, since the new Senate will not be constituted until January.

Change of strategy in Iraq?

EU politicians are hoping for a turnaround in US foreign policy after the Democratic victory. The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Elmar Brok (CDU), told the "Berliner Zeitung" that the chances of a change of strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan had increased. The Democrats would insist on at least a partial withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. A change "away from purely military to more civil conflict prevention" is also conceivable. After the "fall of the falcons", the USA would again approach the EU more closely, said the social democratic foreign politician Hannes Swoboda of the "Berliner Zeitung". A "real dialogue" is possible again, said the Austrian.

After winning the House of Representatives, the Democrats also won a majority in the Senate on Thursday. In the state of Virginia, where the outcome remained open to the last, Republican incumbent George Allen admitted his defeat. Allen's Democratic challenger Webb had a razor-thin lead of about 7,000 votes. The Democrats thus have a decisive majority of 51 of the 100 votes in the future House of Lords and control the entire Congress for the first time since 1994. (tso / AFP)

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