Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The World Chose Obama Too

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 04: U.S. President elect Barack Obama walks on stage, with his wife Michelle (R) and daughters Malia (2nd R) and Sasha to, address his supports during an election night gathering in Grant Park on November 4, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama defeated Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) by a wide margin in the election to become the first African-American U.S. President elect. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rest of world prefers Obama over McCain for US president: poll

Oct 21, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) — If the rest of the world could take part in the US presidential election, Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama would win four times more votes than his Republican rival John McCain, a poll showed Tuesday.

In surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization in 70 countries representing nearly half the world's population, 30 percent of people said they would choose Obama as president of the United States against eight percent who said they preferred McCain.

In four close US partners in Asia -- Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea -- residents came out clearly in favor of Obama.

Two-thirds of Japanese and Australian respondents said they preferred Obama to McCain, who only scored about 15 percent in the two countries.

In Singapore and South Korea, meanwhile, the pro-Obama vote outpaced the pro-McCain vote by around two to one.

"McCain and Obama have each pledged to reinvigorate and strengthen partnerships with the four developed Asian countries and take a more active role in Asian regional organizations," Gallup wrote.

Nine out of 10 people polled in India and Pakistan and seven in 10 in Bangladesh said they had no opinion about whom they would prefer to see in the White House in Washington come next January.

Gallup said the disinterest among South Asians revealed "a great disconnect between many of the world's poorest inhabitants and the politics of the United States."

Latin Americans showed a similar disconnect, with 68 percent of those polled in central America and Mexico and 58 percent in South America voicing no opinion about the US election.

Middle Easterners in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories chose Obama over McCain by a margin of at least two to one, although three-quarters of Palestinians said they didn't think the result of the US election would change much in their country.

A majority of Europeans in 14 countries said they wanted an Obama victory, with the Dutch and Norwegians the strongest Obama supporters in Europe: nearly three-quarters in both countries said they preferred him to McCain.

In France, 64 percent chose Obama against four percent for McCain, and in Germany, where an Obama rally in Berlin gathered some 200,000 people in July, the Democratic presidential contender was supported by 62 percent of those polled compared with 10 percent for McCain.

In Africa, a median of 56 percent of poll respondents chose Obama -- meaning the percentage who chose the African American presidential contender was higher than 56 percent in half the 22 countries polled and lower than 56 percent in the other half.

A median of nine percent chose McCain, who did not beat Obama anywhere in Africa, even though the current US administration of Republican President George W. Bush has a high approval rating on the continent.

Bush in July signed legislation tripling funds to fight the killer diseases of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in Africa under an initiative launched under his administration in 2003.

In Kenya, where Obama's father hailed from, the Democrat was supported by nearly nine in 10 poll respondents; McCain had the support of three percent of Kenyans.

Around 1,000 people were interviewed face-to-face earlier this year in most of the countries that took part in the surveys.

Survey sizes in Kuwait, Japan, Pakistan, Mexico and India were 484, 750, 804, 873 and 2,000 people respectively.

World hails Obama's 'brilliant' victory

World leaders hailed Barack Obama's triumph Wednesday in the US presidential election as the start of a new era but there were also calls for the global superpower to change the way it does business.

Celebrations erupted in capitals around the world. A national holiday was declared in Kenya -- where Obama's father was born -- to welcome the first black US president.

"Your brilliant victory rewards a tireless commitment to serve the American people. It also crowns an exceptional campaign whose inspiration and exaltation have proved to the entire world the vitality of American democracy," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a letter to Obama.

"By choosing you, the American people have chosen change, openness and optimism," added Sarkozy as a flood of congratulatory messages went to the 47-year-old senator on his historic victory over Republican candidate John McCain.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised Obama's "energising politics... his progressive values and his vision for the future". German Chancellor Angela Merkel reinforced the importance her government put on "our transatlantic partnership."

China's President Hu Jintao said in a written message: "In a new historical era, I look forward to... taking our bilateral relationship of constructive cooperation to a new level."

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged to work with the new US leader to strengthen relations.

Indian Premier Manmohan Singh called it an "extraordinary" victory and invited Obama to visit India and Mexican President Felipe Calderon urged Obama to visit the United States' southern neighbour.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Obama's victory was a landmark for equality.

"Forty-five years ago Martin Luther King had a dream of an America where men and women would be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character," Rudd told reporters. "Today what America has done is turn that dream into a reality."

But European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso called for the election to usher in a "new deal" between the United States and the rest of the world to tackle the global financial crisis and other troubles.

"This is a time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America," Barroso said in a statement. "We need to change the current crisis into a new opportunity. We need a new deal for a new world."

With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan heading White House priorities abroad, there were also calls for a change of tack on the US "War on Terror" launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"Our demand is the repetition of demands we have had since long ago and that is a change of the strategy of the war against terrorism," said Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The "'War on Terror' cannot be fought in Afghan villages... Afghanistan is the victim of terrorism," Karzai said.

Obama's election would not lead to a quick US disengagement from Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.

"We don't think there will be change in policy overnight. There won't be quick disengagement here. A great deal is at stake here," Zebari told AFP, adding that Baghdad was looking for a "successful partnership" with Obama.

Israeli-US relations have "a bright future," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Ygal Palmor said. But Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas urged Obama to speed up efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Election parties were held in major capitals around the world bringing together expatriate Americans and people anxious over events in the United States.

Hundreds of villagers in Kogelo, Obama's Kenyan family home, erupted into song and dance. President Mwai Kibaki declared a national holiday on Thursday to mark Obama's victory.

Swinging branches and chairs in the air, men cheered and clapped while women shouted "Obama! Obama!" in the village where his grandmother lives and where his late Kenyan father was born.

In Obama, an ancient fishing town on the Sea of Japan -- Obama means small shore in Japanese -- residents dressed in Hawaiian skirts did a hula dance in celebration, embracing Hawaiian-born Obama as one of their own.

"I'm so excited because Obama shares our town's name. But even if the town was called McCain I would still support Barack Obama," said 44-year-old dancer Masayo Ishibashi.

Read amd watch president-elect Barack Obama's acceptance speech in full


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