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World hopes for a 'less arrogant America'

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Crowds gather all over globe to follow historic U.S. elections

BERLIN - Around the world, throngs packed plazas and pubs to await U.S. elections results Tuesday, many inspired by Barack Obama's promise of change amid a sense of relief that — no matter who wins — the White House is changing hands.As millions of American voters decided between Obama or John McCain, the world was abuzz, ready to bear witness to a moment of history that would reverberate well beyond American borders.

"America is electing a new president, but for the Germans, for Europeans, it is electing the next world leader," said Alexander Rahr, director of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

In Kenya, Obama's ancestral homeland, the atmosphere was electric with pride and excitement as people flocked to all-night parties to watch election results roll in.

"Tonight we are not going to sleep," said Valentine Wambi, 23, a student at the University of Nairobi who was joining hundreds of others at an election party. "It will be celebrations throughout."

The Irish village of Moneygall was also trying to claim Obama as a favorite son — based on research that concluded the candidate's great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Kearney, lived there before emigrating to the United States.

Election dominates TV coverage

At Moneygall's Hayes Bar, an American flag fluttered outside window Tuesday and local band Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys played their rousing folk song "There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama."

"We're not going to go mad with the drink," said Ollie Hayes, who runs the pub. "We just want to show Barack that we appreciate he's from here, to have some finger food and watch the early results."

Scores of U.S. voters living in the Mexican state of Baja California crossed the border to cast their vote, including Roberto Chavez, 32, an engineer who has dual citizenship.

"Usually I only vote in Mexican elections because I live here, but I'm going to vote in this election because I want Obama to win," he said.

In Germany, where more than 200,000 people flocked to see Obama this summer as he burnished his foreign policy credentials during a trip to the Middle East and Europe, the election dominated television ticker crawls, newspaper headlines and Web sites.

In Paris, among the festivities planned was a "Goodbye George" party to bid farewell to President George W. Bush.

"Like many French people, I would like Obama to win because it would really be a sign of change," Vanessa Doubine said Tuesday as she shopped on the Champs-Elysees.

Muslims hope for less confrontation

Obama-mania was evident not only across Europe but also in much of the Islamic world, where Muslims expressed hope that the Democrat would seek compromise rather than confrontation.

The Bush administration alienated Muslims by mistreating prisoners at its detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison — human rights violations also condemned worldwide.

"I hope Obama wins (because) of the need of the world to see the U.S. represent a more cosmopolitan or universal political attitude," said Rais Yatim, the foreign minister of mostly Muslim Malaysia.

CONTINUED : McCain draws support in Israel1 | 2 | Next >


                                               Look at the flowers

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