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AmCham Business Breakfast, Ljubljana, November 9, 2016. The U.S. presidential battle is over, and everything is clear now. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, is the new president. This year’s elections have a special meaning for Slovenia as well. For the first time, Slovenia has a first lady across the ocean, greatly increasing Slovenia’s recognition around the world. The influence of the U.S. elections reaches every sphere of global activity and brings changes to the global economy, politics, and society.

H.E. Brent R. Hartley, the U.S. ambassador to Slovenia, pointed out in his opening speech: “There is a long and sleepless night behind us. From 20 January 2017 on, we will have a new boss. After the initial excitement, we will have to take on a lot of hard work and administration, but, most of all, we will have to find ways to achieve Trump’s goals. Trump brings new dimensions to our foreign, security, trade, and immigration policy, as well as to our economy. I hope that the future president will keep working on the positive connections and practices we have established and, most of all, I hope that he will remain focused on the three strategic elements of the foreign policy: the promotion of democratic values, shared prosperity, and common security.” 

Even though opinion surveys predicted victory for Hillary Clinton right till the end, Gautam Rana, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, explains that he is not surprised by the results: “The reality is far from the surveys. These elections have been characterized by domestic policy and security. It is hard to say why Americans decided as they did just one day after the elections; we will probably find this out in a few weeks.”

The consequences of the new U.S. president election will be felt not only by the American but also by the global economy. Maria Anselmi, the Managing Director of Bisnode Dun & Bradstreet, pointed out that Slovenia is not an exception: “We may think that we are so distant from the U.S. that we will not feel the consequences of the U.S. elections, but that is not true. We are a part of the globalisation process and all entrepreneurs will feel the changes. According to analysis, the shift from a Democratic to a Republican president has a negative impact on the country’s GDP. As shown by statistics, GDP growth potential proves to be much stronger under the democratic leadership. We know that there will be consequences, but it is hard to predict how significant will be their impact on the economy just one day after the elections. These analyses will be known in one year’s time.”

According to 60% of the Business Breakfast participants, Trump’s presidency may cause economic growth, while 40% of them think that it will not bring major changes. On the other hand, nobody thinks that this could have negative consequences for Slovenia.

Jure Stojan, the Director of Research and Development at the Institute for Strategic Solutions presented the study Oštevilčeno: “The fact the First Lady of the United States is Slovenian is already strongly felt. In the last year, the number of American tourists has increased by 23%, which we call “the Melania effect”.” Moreover, Stojan presented some interesting findings of a research on president’s mental diagnosis: “By knowing the president’s mental state, we can predict the economic policy of the U.S. with 40% accuracy. These predictions have been in Clinton’s favor as well. If she had won, GDP growth would have increased between 1.3% and 3.8%, while the predictions for Trump show that the GDP growth should be between -0,6% and 1,9%. 

We discussed the role of media in the U.S. presidential election with the following media experts: Dejan Verčič, Head of the Center for Marketing and Public Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana; Uroš Urbas, Editor-in-chief at Siol.net; and Nataša Briški, Co-Founder of Media Network Meta’s list and former Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the US.

Dejan Verčič explained: “In my opinion, the biggest surprise of these elections is the media ‘marketing’ of the candidates. Clinton spent a lot of money, while Trump used a different strategy. It has proven once more that all publicity (even bad) is good publicity.”

As added by Nataša Briški, in the U.S. politics is not so popular and is not in the center of attention like in Slovenia. “We do not know how Trump got all these votes since we do not yet have the methods to provide answers. But we do know that Trump is really good at communicating with the media. Citizens know him from reality shows; he speaks a language that everyone understands. Hillary, on the other side, acted with great caution and she was defeated.”

Briški and Verčič share the opinion that we will get to know the real Trump by his relationship with Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. Urbas added that the real Trump will show himself in carrying out ‘Obamacare’. “Obama has led a country of change. Now, it is the Republicans’ turn. With a majority in both Houses of U.S. Congress they have no excuses for mistakes.”

At the end, Ajša Vodnik, MSc, Executive Director of AmCham Slovenia, stressed: “Elections belong to the people and they alone decide how they are going to vote. After that, they will have to live with their decision for the next couple of years. Let us wait and see what is going to happen. This is the first and (probably the last) time that Slovenia will have a First Lady, which is a unique opportunity that we have to be able to seize. Changes are on their way. What kind of changes? I believe positive ones.”

Photo gallery is available HERE.

Check the highlights of the event in the VIDEO.