After five weeks of bitter legal and political manoeuvring, the Republican candidate, George W Bush, finally obtained the keys to the White House after his Democrat rival, Al Gore, conceded defeat in the presidential election.
Gore finally conceded late on Wednesday, a day after the US Supreme Court narrowly voted against a recount of votes cast in Florida - the state which held the balance of power after the inconclusive November 7 election.
In his first speech, president-elect Bush called for national reconciliation. He urged Americans to "unite in a spirit of common sense, common courtesy and common goals".
"After a difficult election, we must put politics behind us and work together to make the promise of America available for every one of our citizens" he said.
Bush announced he would meet Gore in Washington next Tuesday. He is expected to start naming new members of his administration shortly in preparation for his inauguration on January 20.
Bush's speech came an hour after vice-president Gore finally gave up his campaign to succeed President Bill Clinton. In a nationally televised speech, Gore repeatedly called for national unity and reconciliation.
World leaders have sent messages of congratulations to Bush. Among them was the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, who promised close cooperation to establish "healthy and stable" relations between the two countries.
swissinfo with agencies