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President-Elect Barack Obama Captures the Imagination of the World

Senator Barack Obama has been elected as the first African-American president in U.S. history. People around the world have been following the long U.S. presidential election with great interest. The historic nature of the race and the debate over great issues America faces have provided a fascinating display of democracy in action. And in particular, as VOA's Brian Padden reports, the candidacy of President-elect Barack Obama captured the imagination of the world.

Kenyans prayed and held a mock election to show support for Barack Obama.

"We Kenyans are together with Americans," a Kenyan voter said. "So, it is a symbol of solidarity."

He is wildly popular here not only because he will be the first African American president, but also because his father was Kenyan.

Residents of Obama, Japan, a town that shares the same name as the new president-elect, has also been supporting Mr. Obama.

In Spain, a team of artists is creating a giant sand mural of Barack Obama's face.

At a U.S. Embassy election party in Moscow, an opposition politician said that although he feels that a Republican president might be better for international relations, he likes Mr. Obama. "I think that Barack Obama has better chances," he said. "... And I link my hopes as many in Russia with him."

This scene is being repeated at election parties in other countries, like Thailand where interest in the U.S. election is high. "I think he's young, and I like the fact that he is different from any other president," a Thai student commented.

Some in Iraq are not looking forward to an Obama Presidency. "As regards Obama, we fear, as he already stated, that he will pull out troops if he becomes the new president," an Iraqi citizen said.

But for the most part, President-elect Barack Obama's message of hope has resonated around the world.