Clinton concedes defeat as Trump says he will 'deal fairly with everyone' with world leaders including Putin and Sisi offering congratulations
Billionaire Republican Donald Trump has won a shock victory in the US presidential election, jolting financial markets and stunning much of the world.
His Democrat rival Hillary Clinton - former first lady, senator and secretary of state - was narrow favourite as the poll's opened to win the White House and become America's first female president.
But by the morning Trump had won at least 290 electoral votes, securing more than the 270 he needed to succeed Barack Obama, according to AFP. Clinton lagged far behind on 218 electoral votes.
Trump's string of successes reflected how deeply divided the American electorate has become, amid the most bruising race in modern memory, and showcased his ability to tap into white blue-collar voters' resentment of cultural change linked to immigration and the loss of manufacturing jobs at home.
The Republican Party was also on course to retain its majority in the US House of Representatives - which will likely make it easier for this new president to pass legislation compared to his predecessor.
But Trump, who has been roundly criticised during the campaign for his aggressive approach, sounded more conciliatory as he addressed a victory rally of supporters in New York at the end a long night.
With his family by his side, he said: "For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country
"I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all of Americans. While the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning,"
He also said that he would "deal fairly with everyone” including those beyond America’s borders, adding: "We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will have great relationships."
Supporters of Hillary Clinton react to the news of her defeat and Donald Trump's victory (AFP)
And he paid tribute to Clinton, who telephoned him to concede only minutes earlier. "Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country," he said. "I mean that very sincerely."
Earlier in the evening, Clinton tweeted: "This team has so much to be proud of. Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything."
This team has so much to be proud of. Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/x13iWOzILL
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 9, 2016
World wakes up to Trump
But world markets reacted badly to Trump's victory, sending shares tumbling. Japanese shares went into free fall, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index plummeting 5.4 percent. In Europe London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell initally fell 1.87 percent, although later recovered. Frankfurt's DAX 30 dropped 2.9 percent and the Paris CAC 40 index dived 2.8 percent.
On Wall Street, futures markets for the S&P 500 fell 5.01 percent, the tech-heavy NASDAQ lost 5.08 percent and the Dow Jones index fell 4.30 percent.
As Trump inched closer to clinching the presidency, leaders from around the world have reacted in shock and support.
In Russia, the parliament broke into applause upon learning of Trump's victory over Clinton. The former secretary of state was seen as anti-Russian by many in Moscow.
The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had sent a congratulatory telegram to Trump, "expressing hope for mutual work on bringing US-Russia relations out of their critical condition as well as on working out outstanding issues on the international agenda.”
It added: "The President of Russia also expressed certainty that building constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington" would "be in the interest of the people of our countries and the entire world community."
Throughout the campaign, Trump repeatedly praised the Russian leader and said he was willing to work with him.
In Israel, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that Trump's victory meant the Palestinian state was "dead". "Trump's victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause. This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over."
In Germany, a senior member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Party said "we no idea what Trump would do as president," adding that his presidency would create an uncertain geopolitical situation, according Reuters.
In France, far-right politician Marine Le Pen of the Front National congratulated Trump. Florian Philippot, one of the party's vice presidents, tweeted: "Their world has collapsed. Let's build ours."
— Florian Philippot (@f_philippot) November 9, 2016
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said on Wednesday that he believed Donald Trump would maintain the current US policy of pressuring North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests. "Candidate Trump has expressed his clear position by saying after North Korea's nuclear test that such provocation by the North is a direct threat to the United States," Yun said.
Arab American concern
Abed Ayoub, the legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a Washington-based rights group, said the language that Trump used during the campaign about Arabs and Muslims is concerning if transformed into policy.
In November 2015, Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the US. He has vowed to deport all undocumented immigrants and suspend the Syria refugee resettlement programme.
'He needs to make sure that this is a country for everybody and not exclude certain communities'
- Abed Ayoub, legal director, rights group
Ayoub said another worry about Trump's presidency is the possible fallout from his supporters who may see his victory as a green light to attack minority groups.
"He needs to rein that in. He needs to put an end to that. He's been elected as president of the United States - that's a reality," Ayoub said. "He needs to make sure that this is a country for everybody and not exclude certain communities."
The civil rights advocate said while Trump has not called on his backers to commit hate crime or discrimination, his rhetoric has given space for individuals to engage in such acts.
Trump now needs to assume real responsibility, Ayoub added.
He called on Arab and Muslim Americans to accept the election results but be ready to unite and fight back against potential discrimination.
“These are the rules and laws of the lands; you’re going to have to respect that,” Ayoub said. “Protesting (the outcome of the election) is not going to change anything. But what we have to do is to prepare ourselves to work and organise to be able to counter any policies or any actions that may be detrimental to our community.”
Arab world reacts
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the first leader from the Arab world to congratulate Donald Trump on Wednesday and said he hoped the US president-elect would "pump new life" into Egyptian-American relations.
Social media users in the Arab world reacted with both concern and dismissal to Trump's victory.
Translation: To look at the positive side, at least we will be spared the hypocrisy, and the world will deal with a president who is straightforward with clear intentions, because at the end the goals are the same. #Trump
عالم يحكم فيه بوتين وبشار والسيسي وخامنئي.. ألا يستحق أن يأخذ فيه ترامب فرصته ويجرب الحكم!؟ قليل من العدل يا ناس !
— Zrira Meryame (@ZMeryame) November 9, 2016
Translation: In a world where Putin and Bashar and Khamenei and Sisi are ruling, doesn’t Trump deserve his chance to try to rule… Some fairness, folks.
فوز ترامب مسألة جادة ولا يجوز تبسيطها بقول "وما الفرق بينهما ؟" ثمة فرق ولذلك اهتزت ألاسواق وانتاب العالم القلق ، بالتأكيد سنتأثر نحن ايضا .
— جمال خاشقجي (@JKhashoggi) November 9, 2016
Translation: Trump’s victory is a serious matter that should not be simplified by saying “what’s the difference between them?” There is a difference. That’s why the markets were shaken and the world is anxious. We will surely be affected as well.