Q&A: US mid-term elections 2010
The US has been holding mid-term elections, which decide the balance of power in Congress over the next two years. The Republicans made sweeping gains as they won control of the House of Representatives, but the Democrats retained a slim majority in the Senate.
What do the results mean for President Barack Obama?
President Obama's name did not appear on any ballot paper, but the elections are widely seen as an appraisal of his performance over the last two years.
Going into the mid-terms, his Democratic Party had a majority in both houses. Having lost control of the House, the president will now have to work closely with Republicans as he tries to push through legislation.
Former presidents have mostly been able to develop a working relationship with congressional leaders of an opposing party.
However, things do not always go smoothly. A Republican-controlled Congress effectively shut down non-essential government services for short periods in 1995 and 1996 because President Bill Clinton refused to make certain budget cuts.
How big are Republican gains?
Prior to the elections, the Democrats controlled 59 seats in the Senate (including two seats held by independents who caucus with the Democrats) and had a majority of 39 seats in the House.
Counts have not yet been completed, but projections suggest the Republicans have obtained a net gain of at least 60 seats in the House.
It would mark the biggest exchange of seats in the House since 1948, when the Democrats gained 75 seats. It also surpasses the swing in 1994, when the Democrats lost 54 House seats.
In the Senate contest, the Republicans made gains but fell short of gaining the 10 seats needed to win control.
Even so, it will be harder for the Democrats to muster the 60 Senate votes they need to stop Republican delaying tactics.
The Republicans also gained at least 10 of the 37 governorships in contention.
What was behind the Democrat losses?...