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US Election 2016: All You Need to Know

The most powerful nation on earth is about to elect a new leader, with the impact felt across the globe. So how does the election work and ...

The most powerful nation on earth is about to elect a new leader, with the impact felt across the globe. So how does the election work and how did we end up with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the main candidates?

When the US picks its president, it is not only choosing a head of state but a head of government and a commander-in-chief of the largest military on the planet.

It's a big responsibility. So how does the process work?

Who can be president?
Technically, to run for president, you only need to be "a natural born" US citizen, at least 35 years old, and have been a resident for 14 years.

Nearly every president since 1933 has been a governor, senator, or five-star military general. And that's before you even consider getting a party nomination and securing national media attention.
Presidential Contender: Hillary Clinton 

In this 2016 election, at one stage there were 10 governors or former governors and 10 who are or were senators, although many have since dropped out.

The Republican and Democratic parties nominate one person each to represent them in the election. The parties hold a series of primary elections in every state and overseas territory, starting in February, which determine who becomes the official presidential candidate.

The winner of each collects a number of "delegates" - party members with the power to vote for that candidate at the party conventions held in July, where candidates are formally confirmed.

The more state contests a candidate wins, the more delegates will be pledged to support them at the convention. Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump were the clear winners in 2016 and were officially nominated at their party's conventions in July.

They are two of the most unpopular candidates in modern American history.

At the conventions, the parties also officially unveiled their vice-presidential picks - Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia for Mrs Clinton, and Indiana Governor Mike Pence for the Republicans.
The big talking points of the campaign

There has been a slew of controversies generated by Donald Trump, from the moment the New York businessman launched his campaign with the description of Mexican immigrants as "rapists and criminals". 

His candidacy has rarely gone a few weeks without sparking some uproar. He's waged wars of words with a judge, a Miss Universe, a Fox News anchor and the Muslim family of a fallen soldier. 

He's had to defend his refusal not to release his tax returns and the suggestion he has paid no federal income tax for 18 years, plus field questions surrounding his charitable foundation.

And Hillary Clinton has had her share of anxious moments too. The damage wrought by her private email arrangement to her reputation is thought to be significant, despite the FBI effectively closing the investigation in July and clearing Mrs Clinton of wrongdoing. 

Questions have been raised about the foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. Mr Trump has also put the spotlight on the part she played in pushing back at the women who claimed to have affairs with her husband Bill. 

And Wikileaks has been revealing hacked emails that have laid bare some embarrassing conversations between members of her campaign team. - BBC

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