International reaction to the United States presidential election, 2008

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This article lists international reaction to the 2008 United States presidential election, in addition to Barack Obama's election as the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008 and his inauguration on January 20, 2009.

Supranational bodies

  •  Arab League – Secretary-General Amr Moussa said that "This is the first day of the new era we have been yearning for. This will go down as a historic day, with the election of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States...The United States must play the role of honest broker in this conflict, as the dishonest brokers have failed." He also stated that "Barack Obama could bring about a sea of change in the Middle East."[1]
  • ASEANSecretary General Surin Pitsuwan said: "I congratulate the people of the U.S. for electing a president who is ready to work with the world." Pitsuwan also viewed favorably Obama's experience living in Indonesia and also the fact that he's the son of a Kenyan national, saying: "At the very least Obama has an attachment to the third world. The election of Obama is supported by Africa and Asia."[2]
  •  CARICOM – Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said the victory goes beyond the shores of America, adding that the "world has a new leader in Barack Obama" and that "As far as the Caribbean is concerned we will want to see that Barack Obama will seek to develop a more engaging relationship with the Caribbean and indeed the western hemisphere so that we can work together to ensure that the entire region develops in such a way that all of its people can benefit from all the resources and the programmes that he will pursue".[3]
  •  European UnionPresident of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said: "On behalf of the European Commission and on my own behalf, I would like to congratulate Senator Obama" stressing that "This is a time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America". "We need to change the current crisis into a new opportunity. We need a new deal for a new world," Barroso said, expressing his hope that with the leadership of Obama, the United States "will join forces with Europe to drive this new deal for the benefit of our societies, for the benefit of the world."[4]
  •  NATOSecretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer congratulated Obama in a press release, adding: "The transatlantic link, based upon the shared values on which our Alliance was founded almost 60 years ago, remains essential. Today’s security challenges require an ever stronger cooperation and solidarity between Allies, and I look forward to the role the United States will continue to play in this regard under President-elect Obama’s leadership."[5]
  • 23x15px Organization of American StatesSecretary General José Miguel Insulza said on Chilean radio: "There is absolutely no doubt that the United States is going to change after yesterday." But he also added: "Latin America is hoping for cooperation more than general speeches."[6]
  •  United Nations – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Obama's election a unique chance to usher in a new era of American cooperation with the rest of the world.[7]


  •  AlgeriaPresident Abdelaziz Bouteflika wrote a message to Barack Obama to congratulate him and wish him success in his mission, adding that he looked forward to working with him. He also stated that "At the hour where the international community is confronted by profound transformations and real challenges, I do not doubt that you know how to put the formidable assets and energy of your country to the service of the promotion of ideals of peace, stability, and shared progress in the world."[8]
  •  AngolaPresident José Eduardo dos Santos congratulated Obama on an "unprecedented" victory that "opens up excellent prospects" for Angolan-American relations. He also hoped that Obama would be able to meet the global expectations of him.[9]
  •  BeninPresident Yayi Boni said the election of Barack Obama was "a great happiness for the entire humanity." He also said "I have few words to express my feeling after the elections of the new U.S President, Barack Obama. It seemed like a dream. From now on, an African-American will have in his hands the destiny of the United States of America, an over two century-aged modern state", he declared as he sounded excited after Obama was announced as the first African-American U.S president. "I did not hope a Black African would run the world’s greatest nation. The world has really changed".[10]
  •  Botswana – "I wish, on behalf of the government and the people of Botswana and indeed on my own behalf, to congratulate you most heartily on achieving what many thought was an impossible dream," Vice President Mompati Merafhe said in a message penned for Obama. The message continued, "As you ascend to the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America, I wish to pay tribute to you personally and your team for your courage and resilience in leading what has been dubbed the greatest campaign ever."[11]
  •  Burkina FasoPresident Blaise Compaoré told Obama through a congratulatory message: "The change message that you transmitted to the American people throughout the election campaign and on the night following your election go beyond the borders of your country." Compaoré also reaffirmed his desire to work with President-elect Obama.[12]
  •  Ivory CoastPresident Laurent Gbagbo congratulated Obama for his "historic election" and hoped that the new president will bring his country and the world "constructive changes to which they aspire". He also said "I wish for my part, to assure you of my full availability to work with your excellence on strengthening ties of friendship and close cooperation uniting our two countries and on building of a world of freedom, justice and peace".[13]
  •  CameroonPresident Paul Biya sent a message of congratulations to Obama. In that message Biya called the election a "historic victory" for the American people and the world.[14]
  •  Cape VerdePresident Pedro Pires congratulated Obama for his "brilliant" victory and said "I understand that this is a moment of change in society, especially the emergence of new values and the active participation of young North Americans".[15]
  •  Chad – Leader of the National Assembly of Chad Nassour Guelendouksia Ouaido said Obama's victory is "an example to follow, especially by Africans, as Americans show that democracy knows no color, religion or origin."[16]
  •  Democratic Republic of the CongoPresident Joseph Kabila told Obama in a message: "It's with immense pleasure that I send you the heartfelt congratulations of the people of DRC following your historic election. Your victory... gives hope to people such as ours who aspire to a new dawn for peace, unity and progress. I look forward to working with you to... restore peace and stability to DRC."[17]
  •  DjiboutiPresident Ismail Omar Guelleh sent a congratulatory message to Obama. Guelleh said that the "brilliant election" of Barack Obama is an inspiration for thousands of people throughout the world. He is also convinced that a new era is beginning for America and for the Americans.[18]
  •  EgyptPresident Hosni Mubarak congratulated Obama and said "We await your constructive participation toward a solution to the Palestinian question and the realization of a just and comprehensive peace, which is the main condition for security and stability in the Middle East."[19]
  •  Eritrea – In a letter to Obama, President Isaias Afewerki expressed his "warmest congratulations" for his election victory. He also conveyed "ardent hope that U.S. policy in our region will indeed change under your excellency's presidency to pursue a constructive path to advance the causes of regional peace, justice and legality."[20]
  •  EthiopiaPrime Minister Meles Zenawi sent a congratulatory message to new U.S. President-elect. In his letter Meles expressed his warmest congratulations to Senator Obama on his behalf, the government and people of Ethiopia. He said he is confident that the longstanding and excellent relations that exist between the two countries and peoples will continue to be strengthened during Obama's tenure in office. Meles also wished well-being and success to the President-elect.[21]
  •  GabonPresident Omar Bongo sent a message of congratulations to Obama in which he said that he hoped Obama would open a new era of cooperation and peace for the United States and the world. The election of the African-American candidate, added Bongo, is a major element in the dream of Martin Luther King.[22]
  •  GambiaPresident Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh sent a congratulatory message to Barack Obama, on his victory which said, "Allow me to congratulate you on your landslide victory in the US 2008 historic election, which I followed with keen interest. With your election, we hope for a better and more peaceful world, for our children and grand children. We in the Gambia recognise the merit, ideology, maturity, high intelligence and message of peace you displayed during your campaign".[23]
  •  GuineaPresident Lansana Conté in his congratulatory letter said that he hopes that Barack Obama will give a new dimension to international relations, particularly between the United States and Africa.[24]
  •  KenyaPresident Mwai Kibaki called Obama's election "a momentous day not only in the history of the United States of America, but also for us in Kenya. The victory of Senator Obama is our own victory because of his roots here in Kenya. As a country, we are full of pride for his success." Kibaki also declared Thursday November 6 a public holiday in honor of Obama's victory.[25] Many Kenyans took to the streets in Nairobi, celebrating Obama's victory.[26] He also extended his congratulations to Obama for the inaugural occasion, and he mentioned that "[Obama has] inspired many young and old people, not only in America but around the world with a strong message of hope."[27] Moses Wetang'ula, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Kenya, commented that the inauguration marked "a moment of great pride for Kenya."[28] There were also celebrations in Nyang’oma Kogelo, where relatives of Obama live.[25] People in Kenya celebrated Obama's inauguration as a public holiday.[29] Many celebrations occurred across Kenya,[30][31] and in some areas, streets were even deserted during the inauguration.[32]
  •  Lesotho – King Letsie III, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and Foreign Affairs Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa have sent messages of congratulations to Barack Obama "We are immensely gratified to offer warm congratulations on our behalf and indeed that of the government and people of Lesotho on your historic election to the high office of President of the United States of America. Your ground-breaking victory today brings to mind memories of the heroic struggle of the American people for equal rights and opportunities. It also renews the hope that your great country will assume effective leadership in a world that, today, faces a myriad of socio-economic and political challenges".[33]
  •  LiberiaPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she did not expect to see a black American president in her lifetime. "All Africans now know that if you persevere, all things are possible," she said.[34]
  •  Libya – Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi said the election of Barack Obama as the next U.S. president was "the beginning of victory for black people". Gadaffi also cited his Green Book, saying "The Green Book says society's time will come. The Green Book says that blacks will govern the world and power will belong to society and to its minorities". The Libyan leader feared that Obama might face attempts on his life. "I also fear for his security. The (kinds of) people who killed Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King and Kennedy are alive and living in America ... May God protect him."[35]
  •  MadagascarPresident Marc Ravalomanana sent a letter of congratulations to Barack Obama on his victory "Your victory is important for us all. The change has come for America, but change must come in the world. We all face the global challenges. No country can cope alone. We must strengthen our solidarity and work hard to overcome them with understanding, determination, courage and optimism. Madagascar will host the African Union Summit in 2009. We are convinced that America and Africa will open a new chapter of cooperation to open new doors of opportunities for our peoples".[36]
  •  MWIPresident Bingu wa Mutharika congratulated Obama "Dr Martin Luther King had a dream that after the hurdles of slavery that Africa passed through to develop America, one day black people will take a lead in America. Today, you Obama have fulfilled that dream. The victory is for Africa".[37]
  •  MaliPresident Amadou Toumani Touré said that the United States has "given a lesson maturity and in democracy" to other countries by electing Obama.[16]
  •  Mauritania – According to a government-run newspaper, General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz sent a message of congratulations to Obama.[38]
  •  MoroccoKing Mohammed VI congratulated U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, praising his "high human qualities" and political capacity. Moroccans shared with their U.S. friends faith in Obama's values of "unity, freedom, equality, social justice, sense of duty and political realism," the king said in his message to the new U.S. president.[39]
  •  MozambiquePresident Armando Guebuza welcomed Obama's victory and described it as a sign that "American society is evolving". Guebuza also said he was confident that Obama will continue to work with Mozambique, and with other African governments, to help maintain peace and guarantee development on the continent.[40]
  •  Namibia – Prime Minister Nahas Angula congratulated Americans on "making history in electing Barack Obama to lead them." Angula went on, "As a country, of course we are also happy that a person with roots in Africa has been chosen. Not that we expect anything special from him, but it is a good gesture that speaks well for the American people."[41]
  •  NigerPresident Tandja Mamadou congratulated Obama "This victory is both historic and stunning is not only the triumph of American democracy, but also the consecration of the great determination that has always been yours to serve your people and lead America to a better future".[42]
  •  NigeriaPresident Umaru Yar'Adua said: "The election of Barack Obama as president-elect has finally broken the greatest barrier of prejudice in human history." Yar'Adua also commented that Nigerians have a lot to learn from the historic event.[43]
  •  Republic of the CongoPresident Denis Sassou Nguesso said that the election of Obama was "a moving, historic moment". "We see how visionaries like Martin Luther King saw coming events. His dream has come true."[16]
  •  RwandaPresident Paul Kagame said that Obama's triumph should be an inspiration for Africans to change Africa for the better. Kagame observed: "The people of the U.S. have made tremendous progress." He congratulated the winner and the people of the U.S.[44]
  •  SenegalPresident Abdoulaye Wade called Obama's victory "brilliant" and said that it symbolizes Martin Luther King's dream and the American Dream.[45]
  •  Sierra LeonePresident Ernest Bai Koroma said that Obama has "emerged as a symbol of hope for America and the world" and that he has "inherited the mantle of responsibility and the enormous challenge of leading the greatest democracy in the world".[46]
  •  SomaliaPresident Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed stated that, "I am hopeful that Obama will help end major crises in the world, particularly the endless conflict in my country Somalia. This was a historic election in which a proper leader was elected. This is a great moment for America and Africa."[47]
  •  South AfricaPresident Kgalema Motlanthe congratulated Obama and said "The government and people of South Africa and indeed those of the entire region... join the peoples of the United States of America in expressing their warm congratulations to you... on your resounding election as the president-elect of United States of America. Your election to this high office of the American people carries with it hope for millions of your countrymen and women as much as it is for millions of people of particularly of the African descent both in the continent of Africa as well as those in the diaspora." He expressed hope that Obama's election would "contribute significantly to efforts in the continent of Africa to help bring about 'change they can believe in.' He also said "We express the hope that poverty and under-development in Africa which remains a challenge for humanity will indeed continue to receive a greater attention of the focus of the new administration."[48] Former President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela wrote: "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place. We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your Presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere."[49]
  •  Tanzania – The National Assembly of Tanzania unanimously passed a special resolution congratulating Obama.[50] Former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela offered his congratulations by letter to Obama on his inauguration. In his congratulatory letter, Mandela commented that "Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place."[27]
  •  TogoPresident Faure Gnassingbé told Obama through a congratulatory letter that there was a "general happiness" that seized the Togolese people after the announcement of his victory. Gnassingbé also wished for the Togo-U.S. friendship to consolidate itself.[51]
  •  TunisiaPresident Zine El Abidine Ben Ali sent a message of congratulations to Obama. In that message Ben Ali said that he's convinced relations will be strengthened between the two countries and that he is ready to work with the President-elect to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East.[52]
  •  Uganda – While Minister of Information Alhajj Ali Kirunda Kivejinja congratulated Obama for his victory and the American people for overcoming their prejudices, the Minister was skeptical that Obama would change policy, stating: "Whether black or white, it is immaterial. We don't expect Obama to overturn American interests. We see people sucked in this Obamania, some saying he will cause changes in Africa merely because an African American has entered into the White House."[53]
  •  ZambiaPresident Rupiah Banda warmly greeted Obama's victory, saying: "I was very much interested to listen to his inaugural speech. It was a very lovely, lovely election."[54]
  •  Zimbabwe – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said that Obama's ascension to the U.S. presidency is a victory for the struggle for democracy in Africa. "For those of us who are still in the trenches, fighting for change and democracy across the entire African continent, this is our victory," said Tsvangirai in a statement.[55]


  •  AnguillaChief Minister Osbourne Fleming sent a congratulatory letter saying "You have been given a clear mandate by the people of America to go forward and face the challenges of the 21st century. You are taking office at a critical juncture in the US and World economy and one which will require strong leadership and the support of the American people and indeed the world community. It is our prayer that God grants you the courage and wisdom to lead so great a nation. Please accept on behalf of the Government and people of Anguilla and on my own behalf best wishes for the future, and all prosperity and success to your administration".[56]
  •  Antigua and Barbuda – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has proposed renaming Boggy Peak, the highest mountain peak in the nation, to Mount Obama in honor of the U.S. president-elect.[57] The renaming took effect on President Obama's birthday, August 4, 2009.[58]
  •  ArgentinaPresident Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in a letter addressed to Obama, labelled his victory as a "great milestone" in the struggle for social equality.[59]
  •  Bahamas – Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham transmitted a letter of congratulations to Obama, saying "the success of Senator Obama's extraordinary campaign will go a long way in shattering racial stereotypes in America."[60]
  •  Barbados – Prime Minister David Thompson said he was offering an open invitation to Obama and his family to "cool out" in his country after his long and tiresome campaign.[61] For the Obama inauguration, Barbados offered free public viewings of the Obama inauguration on large screens in at least three locations throughout the country, including the Kensington Oval sports stadium, the George Washington House and the Bridgetown Hilton Hotel.[62]
  •  Belize – Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington said there would only be "psychological benefits" for nations like Belize in the wake of an Obama victory, though he said he looked forward to working with him.[63]
  •  BermudaPremier Ewart Brown congratulated Barack Obama "There are moments in the annals of history that give us pause. Tonight we have experienced such a moment. We are elated and humbled by an occurrence that many of us never believed we would see in our lifetime. We are also buoyed by the knowledge that beyond the symbolism of this historic election, America has elected as its newest President a man who has ignited fires of hope around the world".[64]
  •  BoliviaPresident Evo Morales hailed Obama's victory, while also wishing that he would lift the embargo of Cuba and "withdraw the troops from some countries."[59]
  •  BrazilPresident Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called Obama's victory "extraordinary" and expressed hope that the victory will help "end the embargo against Cuba."[65] Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said, "In this case hope has won over prejudice – this is good for the United States and the world as a whole."[66]
  •  British Virgin IslandsPremier of the British Virgin Islands Ralph T. O'Neal congratulated Barack Obama describing his electoral success as a "convincing victory". He said "the whole world is watching but we are all convinced that this is indeed your appointed time to be a transformational leader". He also invited Obama and his family to holiday in Nature’s Little Secrets as guests of the Government "I recognise that you fought a good fight and the BVI will be the perfect backdrop for a well-deserved break".[67]
  •  CanadaGovernor General Michaëlle Jean also gave a speech to mark the Obama inauguration during a Youth Dialogue held at Rideau Hall, the governor general's official residence.[68][69] Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated: "In the weeks and months ahead, Canadian officials and diplomats will be working closely with members of President-elect Obama's transition team. Ministers in our government look forward to building a strong working relationship with their counterparts in a new Obama Cabinet."[70] The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada released a statement about Obama's inauguration: "On behalf of all Canadians, I want to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Barack Obama as he assumes office as President of the United States of America and wish him and his administration well as they begin their new term in office. We also send our warmest wishes to our American neighbours as they celebrate this historic day with their friends around the world. I am delighted that the President has accepted our invitation to make Canada the destination of his first international visit. The United States remains Canada’s most important ally, closest friend and largest trading partner and I look forward to working with President Obama and his administration as we build on this special relationship."[71]
  •  Chile – During a seminar on education, President Michelle Bachelet paused to say: "Please allow me to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the election of Barack Obama as the new President of the United States. From this country located at the very southern tip of the Americas we wish him success in his administration."[72]
  •  ColombiaPresident Álvaro Uribe Vélez, through a Foreign Ministry communiqué, congratulated Obama and "the American people", expressing its "disposition to continue working on common interest issues, the consolidation of a diversified agenda, and the strengthening of links between" Colombia and the United States.[73]
  •  Cuba – Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro referred to Obama as "more intelligent" and less "bellicose" than John McCain, and stated that Obama "is without a doubt more intelligent, cultured and composed than his Republican adversary."[74] Raúl Castro, current president of Cuba and brother of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, declared that "[Obama] looks like a good man, I hope he is lucky." Although Raúl Castro did not elaborate on details about changes in U.S.–Cuban relations, he expressed the view that possible talks between the United States and Cuba be held with Obama "without intermediaries" and "on an equal footing."[75] Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban legislature, admitted in his comments about Obama that "the incoming [U.S.] president 'is a big question mark.'"[75]
  •  Costa RicaPresident Óscar Arias said he was happy about Obama's victory, which Arias described as wonderful and reflected the U.S. voters' maturity.[65]
  •  Dominica – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he was eager to meet with Obama for meaningful bilateral discussions but said he was fully aware that Obama’s immediate priority as president would be to tackle pressing issues at home "One has to be realistic. Barack Obama, notwithstanding the fact that he is a black man, is the president of the United States of America first and foremost and one should not expect that he is the president of the black world, including the Caribbean".[3]
  •  Dominican RepublicPresident Leonel Fernández congratulated Obama on his victory and had the following to say: "The people of the United States and its leaders showed the world the path to follow for freedom and democratic values that country has taught since its independence."[76]
  •  Ecuador – President of the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly Fernando Cordero said that Obama is a more open person, who is willing to understand what is happening to all the human beings nowadays. Cordero also accused outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush of showing "little political will to understand the diversity of the world."[65]
  •  El SalvadorPresident Antonio Saca sent a note of congratulations to Obama and his Foreign Minister is "organizing a telephone conference with the President-elect Obama." El Salvador has troops in Iraq and Saca is eager to discuss with Obama a possible withdrawal plan for those troops.[77]
  •  Grenada – Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said, "Being the first African-American to be elevated to this prestigious office fills us with additional pride and emotion. We view (Obama's) election as a new beginning for all of us."[78]
  •  GuatemalaPresident Álvaro Colom commented, "Latin America is raising the voice of unity. If the new U.S. government takes advantage of that good political wave, Americans could be immensely favored."[65] Americans in Antigua Guatemala held a party featuring Obama's favorite music.[79]
  •  GuyanaPresident Bharrat Jagdeo sent a congratulatory message to Obama on his own behalf and that of the people of Guyana on what he described as a "well earned victory". Jagdeo also said that he was excited about the victory and was looking forward to working with the new president.[61]
  •  Honduras – Commenting after the election, President Manuel Zelaya said that Obama is a ray of hope for all humanity.[80]
  •  Jamaica – Prime Minister Bruce Golding sent a congratulatory message to Obama, in which he said Jamaica would co-operate with the United States to improve the quality of lives of the people of both nations.[81]
  •  MexicoPresident Felipe Calderón sent a letter to Obama which congratulated him on his electoral success and also invited him to visit Mexico.[82] Calderón extended his congratulations to Obama on his inauguration, commenting that he wanted to wish Obama "great success in the work as the new President of the United States."[27]
  •  Netherlands Antilles – Prime Minister Emily de Jongh-Elhage congratulated Obama on behalf of the people of the Netherlands Antilles on his election and said "You have been called to serve as a world leader in a time that mankind is faced with important challenges. The fact that you, during your presidential campaign, were able to inspire millions in your country and the world proves the power of unity you exude. You have given hope to the world again. By solemnly promising to serve the people, you have become the symbol of true leadership and thus an example for us as colleague leaders to follow. As part of the Dutch Kingdom the Netherlands Antilles is convinced that your presence in the White House will guarantee the good relationship that has existed for many years between our countries. May the Almighty bless you in the important function of the 44th president of the USA".[83]
  •  NicaraguaPresident Daniel Ortega called the US ambassador to Nicaragua to convey his greetings to Obama, stating "We are very happy with election results in the United States...It is really a miracle that the northern nation has from January, 2009 on a Black president."[84]
  •  PanamaPresident Martín Torrijos said, "Obama's victory awakens great expectations in Panama and Latin America, where relations between the United States and our region are expected to be boosted and lead to new forms of cooperation."[65]
  •  ParaguayPresident Fernando Lugo said that Obama's election generates hope for Latin America, which is looking at the possibility of more constructive dialogue with the United States on issues like development, human rights and migration.[65]
  •  Peru – Foreign Minister José García Belaúnde said that the conditions to build a more fluid and deep relationship with the United States have been created with the election of Obama.[65]
  •  Saint Kitts and Nevis – In an interview with BBC Caribbean News, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas said the election "tells the ordinary people in America, especially the African-American community, that the American Dream really is still alive. That one can achieve almost anything he or she wants to achieve, once he is focused, once he continues to respond positively to the values that are still coming from the family, the church, the community." Douglas also wished for the new government to refocus on the rest of the world, saying: "The incoming (Obama) Administration will have a good opportunity to refocus, to link again with the other world leaders and other countries, which I believe have a real positive message to share in shaping what the world is to be like in the future."[85]
  •  Saint Lucia – Prime Minister Stephenson King said "I can only wait with great expectation for the opportunity of engaging with the new president of the United States when he comes into office in January. The process began two years ago in meetings with the present president. There have been promises made. There has been some movement, but with Obama coming in, we hope and we anticipate some greater traction, some greater activity and hopefully for the region to see some great benefit finally from the United States".[3]
  •  SurinamePresident Ronald Venetiaan said: "He is the first black man to be chosen for this office. I will expect another foreign policy which results that the world will come closer. I expect that the next president will bring peace to the rest of the world. This new result has made clear that the American people are ready for a black man as president. The expectation and also the hope with me and us, as Surinamese people that we have is, that a change will be beneficial for the economy of the US and the rest of the world. I congratulate the American people with their choice by demonstrating against that racial border. The choice for Obama will be for a great interest in the American history and the history of the rest of the world". Vice-President Ram Sardjoe said: "I’m convinced that the new president will answer the expectations that the international community has".[86]
  •  Trinidad and Tobago – Prime Minister Patrick Manning said that he is very hopeful of new economic support for the Caribbean under the Barack Obama presidency and that he was also hopeful that he could hold energy talks with Obama in the near future.[87]
  •  UruguayPresident Tabaré Vázquez stated that he wants to boost commercial, scientific and cultural ties with Obama's government.[65]
  •  VenezuelaPresident Hugo Chávez congratulated Obama for his "important victory" and said he was ready to restore the battered relations.[88]


  •  AfghanistanPresident Hamid Karzai said the American people have taken "themselves ... and the rest of the world into a new era, the era where race, color and ethnicity ... will also disappear as a factor in politics in the rest of the world,"[citation needed] and asked Obama "to put an end to civilian casualties."[89]
  •  BangladeshPresident Iajuddin Ahmed sent the following message to Obama: "I would like to convey to you my warmest felicitations on your election as the President of the United States of America. I am confident that during your tenure as the President of the USA, the bilateral relations between our two countries will be further strengthened to our mutual benefit."[90]
  •  Brunei – In a message addressed to Obama, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah congratulated him upon his victory and stated that he looked forward to working closely with the President-elect to strengthen the much valued friendship and cooperation with the U.S. both bilaterally and in international affairs.[91]
  •  People's Republic of ChinaPresident Hu Jintao offered his congratulations, asking Obama to join China in addressing "important common responsibilities." Hu added, "I look forward to endeavor together with you, to push the Sino-U.S. constructive and cooperative relations to a new level, in order to better benefit our two peoples and the peoples of the world."[92] On Inauguration Day, millions of readers and viewers in the People's Republic of China followed the inauguration. The inaugural event was broadcast live by state-controlled China Central Television with simultaneous translation into Mandarin Chinese, but with enough of a delay to allow for censoring by briefly silencing the translation. When President Obama mentioned that "earlier generations faced down fascism and communism," Chinese state television officials cut away abruptly and switched to a discussion in the studio .[93][94] Chinese websites also censored President Obama's references to communism and dissent.[95] The Xinhua News Agency website provided the full, uncensored text in the English language, along with a censored translation that lacked the reference to communism, as well as Obama's remarks about "leaders ... who ... blame their society's ills on the West" and "cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent."[93][94]
    •  Hong Kong – The Chief Executive, Donald Tsang congratulated Obama "On behalf of the people of Hong Kong, I extend my sincere congratulations to you on your election victory. Your win heralds a new chapter in history – not just for the people of the United States, but for the relationship between your country and the rest of the world. We are confident that, under your leadership, the United States will remain committed to the ideals of open trade, and will play a leading role to stabilise global financial markets during this time of turmoil. I can assure you that Hong Kong, as a global financial centre, will work closely with the United States and other international partners to restore calm and confidence to the market. I take this opportunity, also, to extend to you an open invitation to visit Hong Kong, which is home to one of the largest concentrations of American citizens and business interests in Asia, including more than 850 companies with regional offices or operations. Hong Kong and the United States have long enjoyed a cordial and fruitful relationship and I look forward to strengthening that relationship during your presidency".[96]
  •  India – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Barack Obama and said "Your extraordinary journey to the White House will inspire people not only in your country but also around the world... The people of India and the United States are bound by their shared commitment to freedom, justice, pluralism, individual rights and democracy. These ideals provide a solid bedrock for friendship and strategic partnership between our two nations."[97]
  •  IndonesiaPresident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hoped "Indonesia especially hopes that the US, under new leadership, will stand in the front and take real action to overcome the global financial crisis, especially since the crisis was triggered by the financial conditions in the US."[98] On Inauguration Day, Indonesians and Americans in Jakarta watched the inauguration at a free midnight ball, featuring performances by students from State Elementary School Menteng 01, which Obama attended as a child.[79] Obama was honored for the inaugural occasion by the retired principal of the school, and the festivities also included a performance of the traditional music of Gambang Kromong.[99]
  •  Japan – Prime Minister Taro Aso offered his "sincere congratulations" and stated that he wishes "to strive to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance and solve various problems in the international community as a whole in cooperation with the next President Obama."[100] The city of Obama, Fukui celebrated Obama's inauguration with fireworks, bell-ringing and hula-dancing at the Hagaji Temple.[101][102] The mayor of Obama expressed interest in having President Obama visit the city.[103] Elsewhere in Japan, the Associated Press reported that Okinawans were hopeful that the new President would take actions on issues associated with U.S. military bases in Okinawa,[104] and several news organizations reported that Japanese citizens were hopeful that Obama might make significant steps towards eliminating nuclear weapons.[105][106]
  •  KazakhstanPresident Nursultan Nazarbayev sent a congratulatory message to Obama, in which he said: "I am confident that the Kazakh-U.S. partnership based on friendship and mutual trust will further develop and strengthen for the benefit of our two peoples. I would like to wish you health and success and the people of the United States of America – welfare, peace, and prosperity."[107]
  •  KyrgyzstanPresident Kurmanbek Bakiyev congratulated Obama and said "Accept my sincere and warm congratulations on the occasion of your convincing victory on presidential elections of the United States of America. Kyrgyzstan highly appreciates mutually advantageous character of relations between our countries and attaches priority significance to development of partner interaction with the United States of America".[108]
  •  Laos – A spokesman for the Lao Foreign Ministry said: "After Mr. Obama won the U.S. presidential election, President Choummaly Sayasone sent a telegram conveying his congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama and expressing his hope that the good relations and mutual cooperation existing between Laos and the U.S. will be continuously and effectively developed under the leadership of Mr. Obama."[109]
  •  Malaysia – Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hoped Obama's election as president will bring positive changes to the world, saying: "(Obama's) victory is expected to bring changes in the affairs of the US, I hope the Obama presidency will also bring positive changes to the world." ... "I hope president-elect Obama will give immediate attention to address the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and in particular Palestine. I hope there will also be positive changes to the situation concerning Iran."[110]
  •  MaldivesPresident Maumoon Abdul Gayoom sent a message of congratulations to Obama, saying: "Your eminent qualities of leadership and charisma will no doubt assist you in carrying out your enormous responsibilities in the years ahead. I am confident that the close relations of friendship and co-operation that exist between our two countries will continue to flourish during your tenure as the President".[111]
  •  Mongolia – President Nambaryn Enkhbayar congratulated Obama and said "On behalf of the Mongolian people and in my own name, I wish to extend to You my sincere and warmest congratulations on Your election as the President of the United States of America, the election in which You have won the trust and confidence of your people. The Mongolian people greatly value the relations and cooperation with the American people and like other nations, follow, with great interest, the processes taking place in the USA. We rejoice, as friends, at the achievements of the American people and highly appreciate their consistent support for Mongolia's democratic reforms".[112]
  •  Myanmar – The Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, General Than Shwe, sent a congratulatory message to Obama, while Vice Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Maung Aye sent a similar message to Joe Biden.[113]
  •    Nepal – In a message of best wishes to the new U.S. President-elect, President Ram Baran Yadav said that Obama's historic victory in the election is viewed with great interest in Nepal. "I feel particularly delighted to see such development for change, at a time when we ourselves in Nepal are embarking upon the task of writing a new Constitution with a view to building a democratic, peaceful, stable and prosperous Nepal," said Yadev.[114]
  •  PakistanPresident Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani congratulated Obama on his election and both also expressed hope that relations between the two countries would strengthen under the new American leadership.[115]
  •  PhilippinesPresident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said, "We welcome [Barack Obama's] triumph in the same vein that we place the integrity of the US electoral process and the choices made by the American people in high regard. We likewise note the making of history with the election of Sen. Obama as the first African-American President of the US."[116]
  •  South KoreaPresident Lee Myung-bak congratulated Obama and stated that South Korea wishes "even more improved Korea-US alliance under the Obama presidency." Lee also quoted "Obama is calling for new changes and his vision is shared by South Korean government."[117] In separate congratulations to Joe Biden, Lee recalled the fact that Biden led the US resolution to congratulate President Lee after he was elected President last December, and stated "South Korea expects that Biden will continue to play a leading role for closer relations with Korea so as to move Korea-US relations forward."[118][119]
  •  Singapore – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent a congratulatory note to Obama and said the world needed a strong leadership to overcome the deepening economic crisis and conclude the Doha Round of trade negotiations as well as the other challenges ahead for Obama. Also, he said that he hoped to look forward to welcoming him next year at the APEC summit in 2009, when it is held in Singapore. The Prime Minister also separately congratulated Joe Biden and he admired his spirited campaign and was moved by his personal story of overcoming adversity. He added that Biden as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, put him in a unique position to exercise leadership and help chart the way forward. He said that he is looking forward to both Obama and Biden.[120]
  •  Sri LankaPresident Mahinda Rajapaksa sent the following message to Obama: "I have been following your campaign closely and have been impressed by the freshness and candour that you introduced to the U.S. political landscape and the hope that you generated in the United States, in particular and the wider world, in general. I am convinced that under your leadership, the United States, which has always been a beacon to the world on many an issue, will continue to provide that leadership in a re-invigorated manner."[121]
  •  Republic of China(Taiwan) – President Ma Ying-jeou immediately sent out a message of congratulations after Obama's victory was announced. The message extended his gratitude to the president-elect for his friendship to and support of Taiwan-U.S. relations and Taiwan's new cross-strait policies. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "President Ma also expressed his hope that, under the new U.S. president's outstanding leadership, the long friendship between the United States and the Republic of China (Taiwan) will continue to strengthen and grow."[122]
  •  Tajikistan – President Emomalii Rahmon congratulated Obama "We are full of determination to further strengthen and expand Tajik-American cooperation for the sake of high ideals of the world, stability and progress".[123]
  •  Thailand – Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat sent a congratulation message to Barack Obama on his election, saying he hoped that warm relations between the two countries would be strengthened.[124]
  •  Timor-LestePresident José Ramos-Horta congratulated the President-elect, but also highlighted the problems that Obama is facing, which include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the crisis on Wall Street. "It's a huge task for one man, but everybody should have patience and give him time," said Ramos-Horta.[125]
  •  Turkmenistan – President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow congratulated Obama and said "Turkmenistan, highly appreciates and gives great value to relations with the USA which are characterized by traditionally developed relations based on principles of equality and mutual respect, mutual benefit and mutual observance of interests".[126]
  •  Vietnam – A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "We would like to sincerely congratulate Mr. Barack Obama for being elected as the new President of the United States of America. In recent years, thanks to the joint efforts of the leaders and people of the two countries, the Vietnam-U.S. relationship has recorded positive developments on the path of building a constructive partnership, friendship and mutually beneficial multifaceted cooperation on the basis of the agreements made in our two countries’ joint statements. We firmly believe that in the time to come, the sound friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and the United States shall be further strengthened and developed in the interest of the two peoples and the peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world."[127]


  •  AlbaniaPresident Bamir Topi praised both the election of Obama and the campaign run by John McCain. He also said "We all had a sleepless night, all Albanians and the whole world."[128] Prime Minister Sali Berisha said "His victory shows that in the United States, the possibility of becoming President is not determined by the color of your skin, origin or ethnicity".[129]
  •  ArmeniaPresident Serzh Sargsyan sent a message of congratulations to Obama saying "Dear Mr. Obama, I cordially congratulate you on election as the 44th President of the United States of America. I am convinced that during the years of your presidency Armenian-American relations will get new quality, while economic and political cooperation between our countries will become tighter for the welfare of our friendly peoples. The greatest structures of Armenian community of America have repeatedly told me they are inspired with changes you have promised to American nation. I highly appreciate the level of your information and approaches to the Armenian issues. Armenian people are grateful to the United States for all-sided assistance, which has been consistent since the first years of independence gained by your country. Again congratulating you on election as U.S. President, I wish you strong health and fruitful activity for the welfare of the United States of America and in the name of prosperity of American people."[130]
  •  AustriaForeign Minister Ursula Plassnik stated that the results of the election created "a moment of confidence. Obama’s victory merges the topics of politics and hope, which is very important at times when people are fed up with politics." Moreover, Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer congratulated Obama, commenting that "A politician has been elected who has always been engaged on behalf of the socially disadvantaged".[131]
  •  AzerbaijanPresident Ilham Aliyev congratulated Obama and said "I hope that U.S.-Azerbaijan relations will be further developed and I wish successes to newly-elected President."[132]
    •  Nagorno-Karabakh Republic – President Bako Sahakyan congratulated Barack Obama with a message saying: "On behalf of the people and authorities of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic I cordially congratulate You on the occasion of being elected as the 44th President of the United States of America. Your victory is an epoch-making event both in American history and world democracy. Artsakh rates highly the role of the United States in peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict and the annual financial assistance provided by the U.S. to the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. I am confident that with Your interest and support in solving issues the Armenian people face, under the new Administration the ties between our countries will become much stronger and more diversified. I congratulate You once again and wish peace, happiness, robust health and prosperity to You and all your relatives and friends."[133]
  •  BelarusPresident of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko congratulated Barack Obama on his election.[134]
  •  Belgium – Prime Minister Yves Leterme congratulated Barack Obama and described the relations between Belgium and the United States as "a true friendship based on common values and a lasting sense of solidarity." He said he looks forward to working closely with Obama to find common solutions to the global challenges.[135]
  •  Bosnia and HerzegovinaPresidency Council Chairman Haris Silajdžić said in a statement that the election of Obama is an important event in the history of the United States and the whole world.[136] President of Republika Srpska Rajko Kuzmanović congratulated Obama and expressed his hope that he will help the implementation of the Dayton Agreement and bolstering the relations between two countries. He said "My belief and expectation is that Barack Obama, as the President of the United States, will make a strong contribution to peace, stability and prosperity for the citizens of the United States and for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the whole world, with respect for the rule of law, democracy and respect for the interests of all nations and countries".[137]
  •  BulgariaPresident Georgi Parvanov wrote a letter to Obama wishing him "success in fulfilling your highly responsible mission as a head of a great country, called to play a significant role at the world's arena."[128] Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said "Today’s big news – the election of Barack Obama for the 44th President of the United States – shows us the scale of the global changes and the seeking for something new. Today’s world and the global financial crisis are putting forward new issues. These issues are giving a chance for the left, the social, the progressive to provide answers. This is a great challenge for the Bulgarian socialists".[138]
  •  CroatiaPresident Stjepan Mesić sent a message of congratulations to Obama saying "On behalf of the citizens of Croatia and myself, I congratulate you with all my heart for your landslide victory in the presidential elections. I am convinced that your coming to office as president of the United States would mark the beginning of a new chapter, not only in the lives of many of your citizens, but also in the relation of the United States with the world and the world’s with the United States. In your speeches in the electoral campaign, you have shown that you understand the problems of the modern world and that you are ready to face its challenges, that you have a clear vision not only of the development of the United States, but also the role your country has on the international scene. As a small European country that is on its path to accession in Euro-Atlantic associations, but which is ready to advocate its interests not only in these associations, but also realise its interests in relations with all countries that accept their forging on foundations of full equality, Croatia hails your victory . I expect that during your term, relations between Croatia and America would continue to develop and strengthen, as well as that you would turn due attention within the global concept of America’s foreign policy towards the region we are located in and which is still burdened with the consequences of wars in which the Yugoslav federation collapsed – the South East of Europe. Wishing you success in performing the responsible duty you are about to take on, I express hope that there is a possibility of us meeting as soon as possible, either in Croatia or in the United States."[139] Prime Minister Ivo Sanader congratulated Obama "Honourable President-elect, receive sincere congratulations on behalf of the Croatian government and myself, anent your great win in the elections for the president of the United States of America".[140]
  •  CyprusPresident Dimitris Christofias congratulated Obama and said "We are not asking for great things, but fair treatment of Cyprus".[141] A spokesman for the Cypriot government congratulated Barack Obama on his being elected the new U.S. president, while expressing hope that his administration will actively support the reunification process of the Mediterranean island. "Obama has made specific declarations which we welcome. We hope that these declarations will be fulfilled," said the spokesman.[142]
  •  Czech Republic – Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek invited Obama to Prague and said that his victory "does not change relations." He seemed to add a note of caution by saying that "The whole world will now watch with suspense how he fulfills his promises".[143] President Václav Klaus said that the Czechs have not forgotten that the United States contributed to the foundation of Czechoslovakia 90 years ago and invited Obama to visit Prague, citing the NATO summit in nearby Germany as a good occasion for the visit.[144]
  •  Denmark – Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen offered his congratulations to Obama the morning after the election, stating that he was very pleased with the outcome of the election.[145]
    •  GreenlandPremier Hans Enoksen sent a congratulatory letter "On behalf of the people and government of Greenland, I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate you on your election as President of the United States. People in this great country have followed enthusiastically the election and we are all very excited about the inspiration you have transpired to the people of the United States as well as to the rest of the world. You have reached even the smallest corners in this country with your vision and hope. We are optimistic that Greenland and the United States will continue to be close partners and we look forward to working with your new administration in developing our ties that we have seen growing in the last couple of years".[146]
  •  EstoniaPresident Toomas Hendrik Ilves sent congratulations on behalf of himself and the people of Estonia, saying that: "I am convinced that under your leadership as president, we, Europe and the United States, can tackle and resolve the economic and security challenges of our time."[147]
  •  Finland – In a statement, President Tarja Halonen extended her congratulations to the president-elect. She added "I am sure that your election to the presidency will further strengthen the relations between our two countries and people. Let me hereby reaffirm our support to your endeavours and wish you every success in your high office."[148]
  •  FrancePresident of the European Council and French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered "my warmest congratulations, and through me, those of the entire French people" stating that Obama's election has raised "an immense hope" in France, in Europe and around the world, and that the American people "had expressed with force their faith in progress and the future." Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë and United States Ambassador to France, Craig Roberts Stapleton, hosted a viewing party to celebrate Obama's inauguration for approximately 1,000 people at the landmark Hôtel de Ville.[79] In France, the Obama administration was anticipated with great expectation; A poll released during inauguration week showed 70% of respondents placing "a lot" or "some" hope in Obama.[149]
  •  GermanyGerman President, Horst Koehler, the head of state, congratulated Obama by telegram Tuesday and invited him to visit Germany soon. He also noted that America was in large part responsible for the upcoming 20th anniversary of German unification.[150]Chancellor Angela Merkel offered her congratulations, stating "Rest assured that my government appreciates hugely the meaning and value of the transatlantic relationship for our common future." President Horst Köhler said "You are facing major challenges for your country and for the world as a whole. You can rely on Germany as a reliable partner and long-time friend. Germany and the US are linked tightly by common values. This is also the basis for close cooperation in our transatlantic community."[151] In Berlin, Germany, about 1,500 guests at tended an inaugural ball held at the Goya club in honor of Obama's inauguration, possibly the largest such event outside of the United States.[152] By way of an ARD broadcast message, Merkel expressed hope of better communication with the United States: "I hope that our cooperation is shaped by listening to one another, and making decisions on the basis that one country alone cannot solve the world's problems ... This is the spirit in which I will encounter him." She also noted the common leadership challenges of economic turmoil and international conflict.[150] Rheinische Post noted that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier anticipated a mid-February Washington visit to meet his counterpart, Hillary Clinton.[150]
  •  Greece – Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis congratulated Obama for his "landmark victory", noting that he looked forward to meeting with the newly elected president in the near future. Karamanlis also stressed that Greek-Americans have contributed and continue to contribute substantially to America, and expressed appreciation for the "clear and steadfast" positions that Obama has adopted on issues of Greek interest. "We look forward to a close cooperation throughout your governance, so that these issues may be resolved, and to the advancement and enhancement of our relations at all levels," Karamanlis' letter to Obama concluded.[153] Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis said that Greece looked forward to an era of great changes, good cooperation with the US, and more fruitful cooperation with the EU. Bakoyannis noted that the Greek government desired as soon as possible meetings with both with President-elect Obama and with his aides, in its capacity as the government but also that of current president of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.[154]
  •  Hungary – Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz issued a statement welcoming Obama's victory as a historic result. She expressed hope that Obama will open a new chapter in international relations. President László Sólyom also sent his congratulations to Obama, while Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány congratulated Obama on behalf of the cabinet and the Hungarian people.[155]
  •  IrelandTaoiseach Brian Cowen congratulated Barack Obama and said he was looking forward to "building on the existing deep and cherished ties between our two countries" and also formally invited Obama to visit the tiny town of Moneygall, the ancestral home of his great-great-great-grandfather.[156] President Mary McAleese congratulated Barack Obama and said that "the election of Senator Obama was transformational in its power and scope, and serves as a beacon of hope, not just in America, but around the world, particularly in these turbulent times of anxiety and uncertainty. I hope he will be successful in charting a new and dynamic course for America in what will inevitably be a challenging and crucially important period in office.[157] Obama's distant relatives gathered in Moneygall, County Offaly in Ireland, where some of his ancestors lived during the 19th century, to watch the inaugural ceremony. Meanwhile, American Democrats living in Ireland threw a party in Dublin.[158] Brian Cowen, Taoiseach of Ireland, welcomed "a day of joy and celebration in Washington, across the United States and across the world."[159]
  •  ItalyPresident Giorgio Napolitano sent his warmest congratulations to Barack Obama and said the victory and its accompanying spirit of unity give new reasons to "hope and trust in the cause of freedom, peace, and a safer and more just world order”.[160] Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday congratulated United States President-elect Barack Obama on his landslide victory.[161] Berlusconi also said "I will try to help relations between Russia and the United States where a new generation has come to power, and I don't see problems for Medvedev to establish good relations with Obama who is handsome, young and also suntanned," and that Obama's election had been "hailed by world public opinion as the arrival of a messiah". There were some critics because he described Obama as suntanned but Berlusconi called them "imbeciles" without any sense of humour.[162] The Obama inauguration was broadcast live on all networks in Italy, including Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia paybox, which provided the most extensive coverage. The country celebrated the inauguration with a wide variety of festivities; In Rome, Democrats Abroad hosted the most popular event on the rooftop of the Radisson Hotel. Italian newspapers ran headlines marking the significance of the event. La Repubblica's front-page editorial ran the headline "Today Racism Ends," while reporting by Corriere della Sera was more skeptical, leading with the headline "It Won't Be Real Change." Italy's leftist opposition has voiced disappointment that conservative Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has downplayed the event. After the election, Berlusconi had described Obama as "young, handsome and suntanned," which made worldwide headlines as an egregious description.[163]
  •  LatviaPresident Valdis Zatlers said "Barack Obama is Latvia's friend, because he previously expressed his support for Latvia. One of his support initiatives was his participation in the recent U.S. Senate Resolution, which emphasized the illegality of the Soviet occupation of Latvia".[164]
  •  LithuaniaPresident Valdas Adamkus said Obama's victory underlined the importance of transatlantic partnership. He also said "I believe that together with the new US administration we will renew and strengthen this partnership, where the agendas for advanced energy security and for support of Eastern European democracies play a major role," and praised the Obama team's "strong stand in the face of Russia's aggression against Georgia".[165]
  •  Luxembourg – Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said in a letter addressed to Obama: "It is with great joy that I learnt early this morning that you have been elected to serve as the next President of the United States of America. Let me express to you my heartfelt congratulations in the name of the Luxembourg Government and on my own behalf."[166]
  •  Macedonia – In his congratulating letter, Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski said that "USA's contribution to the peace, stability and democratic development is of immeasurable value." and that the "Republic of Macedonia values highly the dedication and engagement of USA in strengthening of stability, security and prosperity of the South East European region. I am deeply convinced that with you as the new President, the interest and dedication of USA for our region will continue with unabated pace".[167] Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia Trajko Veljanovski said that the fact the first African-American was voted into the position of Commander-in-Chief shows that in developed countries nothing should present an obstacle to the presidency.[168]
  •  Malta – Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi congratulated Obama on his "historic electoral victory". He said "I am confident that under your leadership, the traditionally excellent relations between our two countries will be further strengthened and that the warm ties of friendship will be further enhanced to the mutual benefit of our two peoples and for the furtherance of our common values and aspirations".[169]
  •  MoldovaPresident of Moldova Vladimir Voronin congratulated president-elect Barack Obama and said "On behalf of the people of the Republic of Moldova and on my own, I convey to you the most cordial congratulations on the occasion of pre-eminent victory within the elections for the high position of the US President. I would like to mention that this election, which is truly a historical one, made by American people, is an election in favor of change, progress and prosperity, based on fundamental principles of democracy".[170]
  •  MonacoPrince Albert II congratulated Barack Obama and said "After an extraordinary path that has captivated the whole world, you have just entered the history book of the United States of America. You embody at the highest level the values which the American people recognise in themselves. The task with which you have now been entrusted is equal to the tremendous hope you have created not only in your country but well beyond its borders. I am convinced that thanks to your influence, your courage and your humanism, you will be able to bring greatness to America during these times of such uncertainty. At this historical moment, I would like to express, on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Monaco, my warmest congratulations and sincerest wishes for success in the accomplishment of the high responsibilities that fall upon you".[171]
  •  MontenegroPresident of Montenegro Filip Vujanović congratulated Obama on behalf of Montenegro and for himself. In his congratulations, he pointed out that he was convinced that the American nation got a president who would further affirm the basic social values of democracy, freedom, human rights and equality. He said that he was certain that Obama would be maximally dedicated to preserving peace, respecting dialogue and solving the global economic crisis and that he is convinced that Obama’s victory would contribute to further development of friendly relations of Montenegro and the USA.[172]
  •  Netherlands – Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende offered his congratulations, and wrote a letter in which he wished Obama good fortune with fulfilling his heavy task."[173]
  •  NorwayPrime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said in a press release: "I am happy to congratulate Senator Barack Obama with his victory. It is historic that the USA will now have its first Afro-American president. The election campaign has engaged many US citizens and the outcome is of major importance to the entire world. I look forward to cooperate closely with the new US president and his administration".[174]
  •  PolandPresident Lech Kaczyński wished the new president much strength and success in governance and said "I am convinced that, as President, [Obama] will pursue justice and political security, as well as economic and energy stability in the whole world." Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski expressed the opinion that Obama’s victory will see a "new dynamic" in Polish-American relations.[175]
  •  Portugal – Prime Minister José Sócrates described Barack Obama as giving "an opportunity of change to the United States and the world. The voice of Barack Obama is a voice of hope." He also said that Obama's victory "represents possibilities for a new cycle of relations between the United States and Europe in the service of peace, cooperation and of a fairer and more regulated globalization."[176]
  •  RomaniaPresident Traian Băsescu conveyed a congratulation message to Barack Obama, wishing him good luck in carrying out his mandate. He said "Barack Obama's election as U.S. president comes at a peak moment of the Romanian-American strategic partnership. The politic and security dialogue has improved over the last period thanks to bigger American investment in Romania and to the bilateral commercial ties on the increase," and that "the successful campaign conducted by Barack Obama has raised the interest of Romanians and of the nations worldwide and strengthened confidence in the American democracy."[177] Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu on behalf of the Romanian Government, conveyed a congratulation message to the President-elect Barack Obama and to the elected vice president-elect Joseph Biden.[178]
  •  Russia – On 5 November 2008 President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Barack Obama on his election and said "Russian-American relations have historically been an important factor for stability in the world and have great importance and sometimes key significance for resolving many of today’s international and regional problems. We in Russia are certain of the need to work consistently on developing cooperation between our countries not only on the broad range of issues in the international agenda but also on building real bilateral cooperation in all different areas. We have already built up solid positive potential in this area but much still remains to be done for the good of our peoples and in the interests of making the world more peaceful and secure. I hope for a constructive dialogue with you based on trust and consideration of each other's interests."[179] However, the Obama presidential inauguration in January 2009 featured as a minor news story in Russia, with much of the day's televised news coverage devoted to the gas war with Ukraine. Russia's flagship early-evening news show on state-owned Channel One Russia devoted much of its first quarter-hour to the gas story. The inauguration story followed after two other reports.[163] Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made "reserved" comments on the occasion of the inauguration: "Obama looks like a sincere and open man, and this, of course, attracts people."[163] After the November 2008 election, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had received flak[by whom?] for not promptly congratulating Obama.[163]
  •  San Marino – Secretary of Foreign Affairs Fiorenzo Stolfi sent a message of congratulations to Obama. Stolfi said "I am convinced that the victory of renovation in the U.S. will have positive effects on the international scene and will give a new voice, also in Europe, to the desire of a reformations policy which could overcome conservatism and impose a new, more modern and equal world order."[180]
  •  SerbiaPresident Boris Tadić congratulated Obama and said "Your election paves the way for opening a new chapter in the long history of relations between Serbia and the United States, during most of which we have been allies and friends. Serbia is firmly determined to improve bilateral relations with the U.S., contributing to the stability and European future of the Balkans. I am convinced that by sharing the common values of justice, democracy and freedom, we can as partners realize change which will make the world better, more just and safer". He also expressed hope that the new U.S. administration will have more understanding for Serbia, that defends its legitimate interests in peaceful and diplomatic way.[181] Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dačić expressed the opinion that the victory of Barack Obama will be good for both the United States and Serbia, as well as for the development of overall relations in the world.[182] Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić said "I think that the world wanted to see changes and that is exactly what happened" adding that relations with the new administration would hopefully be better than those with that of George Bush.[128] Crown Prince Alexander congratulated Obama and said "My family joins me in expressing our warmest congratulations and admiration for your very historic victory. I wish you all the very best for the future and look forward that under your leadership the United States of America will work for the benefit of our two societies. The people of Serbia are full of hope for a warm, productive and friendly relationship between our two countries. In addition it is my hope that your forthcoming administration will herald a new world order of international cooperation and lasting peace and hope between all countries and the United States".[183]
    •  KosovoPresident Fatmir Sejdiu was less complimentary, but emphasized the value of democracy, saying, "This is a verdict of the American citizens. A dignified electoral campaign showed how citizens can become active in choosing their leader." Sejdiu also offered praise for John McCain and his campaign. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci sent a letter to Obama congratulating him on his win, calling the elections "historic" and saying, "The election of the 44th American president showed a noble electoral campaign and displayed the best democratic values of the United States."[184]
  •  SlovakiaPresident Ivan Gašparovič congratulated Barack Obama on his victory and said that he believes the already good relations between Slovakia and the United States will improve. Ján Slota, the leader of the Slovak National Party, a junior partner in Slovakia's governing coalition, said that Barack Obama had won the US presidential elections partly due to the arrogant and silly policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush.[185] Spokeswoman of the Prime Minister Robert Fico, Silvia Glendova said "Prime Minister Robert Fico accepts the results of the presidential election and congratulates the new president on his victory". Slovakia's foreign ministry said issued a statement saying "We believe that the new president will, through international cooperation and partnership, help deal with global challenges such as the financial crisis, terrorism, energy safety, global warming, famine and poverty".[186]
  •  SloveniaPresident Danilo Türk and the outgoing Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulated Barack Obama upon his election as the US president. They both said they were looking forward to a continuation of close cooperation between the countries in the future.[187]
  •  Spain – Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero claimed Spain will be a loyal ally and friend of the US. After tense relations between the Bush administration and Spanish Government due to Zapatero's decision to get Spanish troops out of Iraq, the Spanish Prime Minister considers that relations with the US will improve considerably.[188] News organizations in Spain noted the historical significance of the Obama inauguration. El País, the most widely read newspaper in Spain, led with the headline "The American dream reaches power" in its news report of the inauguration, dedicating three pages to the event. Televisión Española, which is the country's leading midday news, led its newscast with a report the inauguration.[163]
  •  Sweden – Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a statement: "Barack Obama becomes president in a time when the relations between Sweden and the United States are good and the conditions for cooperation promising. I want to congratulate Barack Obama for the election victory and look ahead for a continued more profound dialog between our countries".[189] He also added: "The challenges that Barack Obama will meet as president are many. It deals with the jobs and the economy, the international relations and the climate issue. My hope is that the United States sees the value in openness towards the world as an important way towards success".[189]
  •   SwitzerlandPresident Pascal Couchepin hailed Obama's election as "the choice of the future". "America has shown it is capable of opening new frontiers," Couchepin added.[190]
  •  TurkeyPresident Abdullah Gül congratulated Obama and said "your message of change and hope is one that meets the expectations of our day. It is a message that Turkey embraces."[191]
  •  Holy SeePope Benedict XVI sent Barack Obama a special telegram congratulating his success on what was a "historic occasion". The Pontiff went on to give Obama his blessing so that "God will support him and the American people, and that all people of goodwill can work to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice."[192] He also sent President Obama a telegram on Inauguration Day,[193][194] and he offered Obama "cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of [the] prayers [of His Holiness The Pope] that almighty God will grant [President Obama] unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of [his] high responsibilities."[194] Pope Benedict XVI also mentioned in his telegram that "at a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, [His Holiness prays] that [President Obama] will be confirmed in [his] resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family."[194]
  •  UkrainePresident Viktor Yushchenko congratulated Obama and expressed confidence that the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States will further play a significant role in securing peace and stability worldwide. He also wished him good health and success in a responsible state activity in favor of the US people.[195] Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko congratulated Obama and said "Your victory inspires us. Things that seemed impossible become feasible".[196]
  •  United Kingdom – Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated "I know Barack Obama and we share many values ... I look forward to working extremely closely with him in the coming months and years."[197] On the day of Obama's inauguration, the British press provided extensive coverage of the Obama inauguration. BBC One broadcast two hours of live coverage of the inauguration, and BBC News covered the inaugural parade to the White House and the current affairs show, Newsnight, presented by Jeremy Paxman, broadcast an extended show live from Washington.[163] The Times hosted a live blog with 10,000 participants starting an hour before the Inaugural address.[163] British Prime Minister Gordon Brown heralded the inauguration saying, "The whole world is watching the inauguration of President Obama, witnessing a new chapter in both American history and the world's history. He's not only the first black American president but he sets out with the determination to solve the world's problems."[198] The inauguration was also shown to housemates competing in this year's British show, Celebrity Big Brother, breaking the rules of isolation from the outside world.[199] London held an inauguration ball for an estimated 1,300 attendees.[79] Other viewing parties, including a luau in Cambridge,[79] were held across the United Kingdom, which is home to 300,000 Americans.

Middle East

  •  BahrainKing Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah, Prime Minister Khalifah ibn Sulman Al Khalifah, and Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa all sent cables of congratulations to Obama.[201]
  •  IranPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated Obama, saying "You know that opportunities bestowed upon people by the God are passing...I hope that you prefer people's interests and justice to the rapacious demands of a selfish minority, make the best use of the chance and leave a good name...The great nation of Iran welcomes basic and fair changes in U.S. policies and behaviors, especially in the region."[202][203] This constituted the first time since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 that a leader of Iran sent his congratulations to the American president-elect.[204][205] Manouchehr Mottaki, Foreign Minister of Iran, expressed his disappointment in the historical relationship of his country with America, which he viewed as the "troublemaker" in the relationship. Mottaki expressed hope for openness for a new direction when he said, "if Obama chooses the right path, compensates the past, lifts hostility and U.S. hegemony, and revises the previous political mistakes, we will have no hostility."[150] At the conclusion of the Bush administration, Iran and the United States continued to have conflict over Iran's supposed nuclear weapons program, and Mottaki expressed skepticism about whether there would be any new change with the new president by saying that "we hope that angles of optimism would be created with Obama but the facts tell us we should not be optimistic."[150]
  •  IraqIraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Al-Arabiya television stated he viewed Obama's victory as an opportunity for "a successful future partnership between the two countries...But there are many upcoming challenges."[206] Ordinary citizens in Iraq also weighed in about Obama's inauguration with cautious optimism. According one citizen, "If [Obama] can do as well as he talks, then all our problems are over," adding a belief that "[Obama] is a good man, but many people in Iraq believe all American presidents are the same and that we are a playground for their interests."[207] Another citizen commented that "Obama won't get the same treatment,' ... 'But he won't have too long to prove himself to us.'"[207]
  •  IsraelPresident Shimon Peres wrote to Mr Obama saying: "Dear Mr President, The world needs a great leader. It is in your making. It is in our prayers. God bless you."[208] He described the inauguration of Obama is a "great day" for the United States because his "most unusual hope and election, only ten years ago, would have been unimaginable." He further noted that the United States has made tremendous progress from its troubled past, saying that "what made history ugly, unmistakably, was basically slavery and there were two sorts of slavery: men upon women and white upon black."[150] In a telephone conversation on the Thursday following the election, Obama and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed the need to press ahead the peace process with the Palestinians, according to a statement sent out by Olmert's office. The two leaders "agreed on the need to continue to advance the peace process, and this, while safeguarding the security of Israel." Obama and Olmert also "spoke about the long friendship between the United States and Israel and the need to preserve and strengthen this friendship."[209]
  •  PalestinePresident Mahmud Abbas expressed hope that Mr. Obama would help "speed up efforts to achieve peace" while one of his advisers called on him to "stay the course" on current US-brokered peace talks.[208] Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called the election "a big change – political and psychological – and it is noteworthy and I congratulate President Obama....we are ready for dialogue with President Obama and with the new American administration...if they want to deal with the region, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict, they have no other option than deal with Hamas because we are a real force on the ground, effective."[210]
  •  JordanKing Abdullah II said "We look forward to cooperation with the United States to re- establish peace and stability in the Middle East and resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state formula that guarantees the rights of all parties" and also expressed hope for "bolstering ties between the two countries".[211]
  •  Kuwait – Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah congratulated Obama in a telegram and said "The historic ties that link both countries and the strong bonds of friendship will continue in the future considering our shared outlook in many areas."[212]
  •  Lebanon – Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon Nabih Berri hailed the election of Obama but also urged him to solve the Middle East crisis. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told reporters that Obama's election was "good."[213]
  •  Oman – Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said congratulated Obama on his victory.[214]
  •  Qatar – Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani sent congratulatory messages to Obama and Biden.[215]
  •  Saudi ArabiaKing Abdullah stated, "On behalf of the people and government of Saudi Arabia and myself, I extend hearty congratulations to you and wish you every success...We look forward to further strengthening our bilateral relations in all areas".[216]
  •  Syria – Information Minister Mohsen Bilal expressed hope that Obama would "change the U.S. foreign policy from a policy of war and siege to one of diplomacy and dialogue." He also hoped that "the U.S. siege imposed on Cuba will be lifted soon."[217] President Bashar al-Assad congratulated Obama in a telegram, adding that he hoped for "constructive dialogue".[218][219]
  •  United Arab Emirates – President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan all sent congratulatory cables to Obama.[220] Dubai's ruler later said "I say to the new (US) administration that crises are not solved by wars, force and arms...God gave us brains and brawn...Therefore, we call upon the new administration to use brain."[221]
  •  YemenPresident Ali Abdullah Saleh sent a congratulatory message to Obama on his election as U.S. President. Saleh also expressed his confidence that Obama will promote cooperation and peace between the United States and the Arab and Islamic countries.[222]


  •  Australia – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated that "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...Today what America has done is turn that dream into a reality."[223] In a speech to honor Australia Day, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the Obama inauguration as a "great moment in history," adding that "President Obama's message of hope is a message that resonates not just across the continent of the United States but across Australia and across the globe."[224] The Aboriginal community particularly viewed Obama's inauguration with pride, observing that "the struggle of Australia’s indigenous population is similar to that of African Americans in the United States."[225] Various groups in Australia also hosted a number of events to celebrate Obama's inauguration. The U.S. embassy and consulates in Canberra, Melbourne and Perth, in addition to the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney and the American Australian Association celebrated the inaugural event by holding breakfasts for American expatriates and well‑wishers in honor of the occasion. According to one student at the University of Sydney, "Australians can relate to the story of the underdog."[225] The group Democrats Abroad Australia held an inaugural ball that featured a rebroadcast of Obama's inaugural address, and the Melbourne branch of the organization held a Bye Bye Bush ball to usher out the Bush era and celebrate the beginning of the Obama era.[226]
  •  Fiji – Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama labeled Obama's victory as "a wonderful expression by the people of the United States of America of their confidence in your leadership and agenda for change," in a letter addressed to Obama. Bainimarama also said, "We in Fiji are also pursuing change in a whole range of areas pertaining to governance of our country for achievement of genuine and true parliamentary democracy and lasting peace and prosperity for our people. I trust your administration will render us a more understanding and conciliatory approach in helping move Fiji forward. I look forward to working closely with you and your Government in the strengthening of our two countries' bilateral relations and of our collective support for regional co-operation."[227]
  •  New Zealand – Prime Minister Helen Clark congratulated Barack Obama and said "The New Zealand Government very much looks forward to working with the new Obama administration. Senator Obama will be taking office at a critical juncture. There are many pressing challenges facing the international community, including the global financial crisis and global warming. We look forward to working closely with President-elect Obama and his team to address these challenges."[66]
  •  Papua New Guinea – Prime Minister Michael Somare praised Obama's election in a statement saying, "Papua New Guinea and the United States enjoy excellent bilateral relations and it is my intention to aggressively seek out ways and means of further expanding and enhancing this cooperation." Somare also directed his statements directly to Obama saying that his election was “a well deserved mandate” and he looked forward to “working closely with you and your new administration.”[228]
  •  Solomon IslandsDerek Sikua, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, congratulated Barack Obama after his inauguration on behalf of the government and people of the Solomon Islands.[229] Sikua noted that Americans originate in all corners of the world, including the Solomon Islands, and he noted that Solomon Islanders will pray that God will continue to give Obama strength, wisdom and good people to support him in endeavours for his country and for the world.[229]


  • Greenpeace – One of the world's largest NGOs, Greenpeace hailed Obama's victory as spelling hope for international progress on climate change.[230] John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director, said: "It's a great relief that the Bush years are now all but over. We lost precious time in the fight against climate change as a scientifically and morally illiterate administration blocked action at every turn. President Obama now has an opportunity to invest in a Green New Deal, one in which billions of dollars and political capital are directed towards delivering low-carbon technologies that create jobs and slash emissions. Welcome back America."[231] Greenpeace China also published an online article on how Obama would bring a positive reaction to the financial crisis that faced the world in 2008 by investing in green sectors within the economy.[232]

Opinion polling

A global non-scientific Internet vote conducted by The Economist, with 52,000 respondents, indicated that Obama was favored over McCain by a vast majority of poll respondents, with over 44,000 votes, or roughly 85%, for Obama (there was no abstain option).[233]

In a poll conducted in 22 countries for the BBC World Service in July and August 2008, those in all 22 countries preferred Obama. The margin in favor of Obama ranged from 9% in India to 82% in Kenya. On average, 49% of respondents preferred Barack Obama and 12% preferred John McCain, while nearly 40% expressed no preference.[234]

Media reaction

Media around the world reacted with strong emotions when Obama was elected. Most expressed positive hopes and expectations for the president-elect, but some tried to prepare their readers for disappointment. Editorials varied from elation[235] to cautious optimism,[236] and a few were outright skeptical.[237] Many celebrated Obama's victory as historic and a sign of changing race-relations in America.[238] Commentators said the election results surprised them because there was an international perception that America was too racist to elect a black president.[239] Many also said people in their country were blinded by infatuation with Obama and encouraged them to see him as a normal human being capable of error.[240] Within a week, the excitement and elation subsided somewhat and newspaper editorials began to caution that Obama had enormous obstacles ahead.[241]

The election was closely watched from around the world and domestic media like CNN and PBS tracked the international reaction.[242][243] Major newspapers on every continent covered the election's outcome on their front pages or as their top story, a reflection of the U.S.'s strong influence on world affairs and candidate Obama's international celebrity. Obama's campaign had said it would like to "build a fan base across the world."[244]

See also


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  242. International press reaction CNN, U.S., November 5, 2008
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