BALTIMORE, October 26 – It’s not over until it is finally over.,
That’s the verdict out there in the November 4 race to the White House which ends in under a fortnight.
What is certain however is that either Senator Barrack Obama or John McCain will end the eight-year rule of President George W. Bush.
“When the President is elected, what happens first is that a committee is set up to look into the inauguration process,” Mr Armstead Jones, Baltimore City Board of Elections Director told Capital News.
After the preferred candidate is elected through the majority nationwide popular vote, the Electoral College, which has the final say, goes to the ballot a month later to approve or disapprove the people’s choice after which the inauguration takes place in January.
“Both presidential candidates have had a meeting at the White house with President Bush in which they have signed an agreement on the nature of the transition process from Mr Bush to whoever wins the election,” Professor Ronald Walters, a prominent International Political Scientist said.
“Right now each of the campaigns have already appointed a transition committee should they win to make it effective because the presidency has too much and the president-elect wants to be able to govern immediately when he takes office in January,” Professor Walters said.
So what does the President-elect do between the day he is elected and when he is sworn into office?
“He fills his Cabinet positions during this period; meets with the current president and goes over the situation in the country especially where there are issues. So their hands are quite full between the election and the time they go into office,” Mr Armstead Jones pointed out.
“The new Cabinet members will take the place of the old ones but it’s not in all cases that the old ones leave the office because they serve at the will of the President,” he said.
And who would be the in the Cabinet list if either candidate were to win?
“It is hard to tell because Mr Obama has a large number of advisors, about 300 of them and many of them go back to several Democratic administrations and are well trained in government operations, international affairs and domestic politics,” Professor Walters said.
“If you look at the people who chair the various committees, undoubtedly they will have some role in an Obama government but beyond that it will be difficult to tell,” he said.
Professor Walters said the scenario was similar with the Republican nominee.
“There are a number of substitute public policy people, beyond that group you have a number of elected officials, some who are serving, some may have lost an election and many of them who have contributed in the campaign in one way or another,” he says.
In September, Senator McCain was quoted in the media saying his Cabinet would include Democrats and it’s not going to be a ‘single token’ Democrat. “It’s going to be the best people in America, the smartest people in America,” Mr McCain said.