Sri Lanka's response to Obama's victory
By Nadia Fazlulhaq and Himal Kotelawala
The American people have made a wise choice in electing Barack Obama as their next president, but that the new president elect should look at Sri Lanka’s terrorist problem in a practical manner, Senior Cabinet Minister Nimal Siripala said.
“We hope that his leadership would look at the Sri Lankan issue in a very practical manner. The US had always been a country that stood against terrorism and we hope they would continue their support towards countries fighting against terrorism,” he said commenting on Democratic Candidate Barack Obama's victory.
The main opposition United National Party (U NP) congratulating the newly elected US president said that a majority of Americans have proved that racial discrimination is no longer a deciding factor in US politics, especially among the younger generation.
“This is one of the most significant victories of the US history. It is clear that this is a root-level victory, a victory of the ordinary man,” said UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake.
He said that many countries including Sri Lanka are hoping that the new president would give more consideration to world peace, economic prosperity and poverty elimination.
“We congratulate the new president, and it is not only America, but the entire world was expecting a new change and that change took place today,” he said.
The US Embassy hosted an election party at the Colombo Hilton today where US Ambassador Robert Blake along with other diplomats and journalists eagerly awaited the highly anticipated final result.
Those who took part said the party kicked off at 6 in the morning and went on till Obama’s victory speech backed by tumultuous applause and a local ‘papare’ band.
Giant screens were set up at the premises where the participants could witness the history making results on the Cable News Network (CNN).
A mock election was held among those present with over 200 votes going for Barack Obama while only 32 went for John McCain.
The atmosphere was jubilant when Obama’s victory was announced on CNN and one girl who was at the party was seen shedding tears of joy.
Ambassador Blake said President Mahinda Rajapaksa called him to congratulate him the moment the results were declared.
Mr. Blake also said that a lot of Sri Lankans didn’t believe that an African American could become the president of the United States but in the end Obama emerged victorious.
Meanwhile W. R. Perera, the local astrologer who predicted that Obama would either be defeated at the election or might ‘not be there’ to receive a victory, still stands by what he said last week.
“Even though he won the election, he will be sworn in as president only in January. According to the planetary positions on his horoscope, there is a strong indication that something could happen to him before then,” he said.
Sri Lankan businessmen also got into the mix by carrying newspaper advertisements congratulating Obama even before the election took place.
One such businessman Director of ASP Group of Companies, A.S.P.Liyanage told Timesonline that he had chosen to support Democratic Candidate Barack Obama because he strongly believed that if John McCain was elected the prevailing downfall of the US economy would continue, and that the Republicans were following the stance that war are was the only solution for everything.
“It’s true that last time I advertised supporting former President George W. Bush and he was a Republican. But there was a need for change and that was the reason I supported Obama,” he said.
Milroy Silva, who advertised supporting for Obama anonymously, was not a businessman.
“I didn’t want to highlight myself, but wanted to wish Obama because I thought he was a great person according to my beliefs and so as a person who wanted him to win, I advertised,” he said.