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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 14:37 GMT
How world sees Bush victory
BBC correspondents around the world report on how the outcome of the US election is being seen in their region.

Click on the links above to see what is being said.

Rupert Wingfield Hayes :: Beijing correspondent

China's communist rulers are not particularly fond of elections - the results are just so unpredictable.

In their opinion, international relations would be much simpler if we did not have to choose a new leader every few years. In China, of course, it is much more simple.

George W Bush and John Kerry

But as the United States insists on going through this process every four years, China, like everyone else, has to live with the result.

Common sense may tell you that China prefers a Democrat. If so, common sense is wrong. By and large China's "socialist" rulers prefer Republicans. And George W Bush is no different.

No, they do not like his war in Iraq. They positively hate it. Nor do they like Mr Bush's far too cosy relationship with Taiwan. He just sold the island $18bn worth of high-tech weapons.

But on the other big issues - trade and human rights, Republicans are much preferable to meddling Democrats.

In the last four years China has seen its trade surplus with America balloon to over $120bn a year. From the White House there has been barely a squeak of protest.

Human rights used to be a huge thorn in the side of US-China relations. But post 9/11 China has become a valued ally in the war on terror. Questions of human rights abuses have quietly disappeared from the agenda.

They may not say so in public, but today in Beijing they will be quietly raising a few glasses to "four more years"!

Ray Furlong :: Berlin correspondent

In Germany, where 75% of people wanted Senator Kerry to win, many people woke up to disappointing news.

But German officials, who clashed with the Bush administration over the Iraq war, are putting on a brave face.

Bush-Cheney campaign
With Florida under their belt, Bush supporters were jubilant

"I can only hope a re-elected President Bush moves towards the Europeans with his rhetoric, gestures and substance," said Karsten Voigt, a government spokesman.

"The biggest challenge now on both sides of the Atlantic is to hold strategic debates over the Iranian nuclear question and the Middle East in general," said Hans-Ulrich Klose, an MP for the governing Social Democrats.

"Iraq has shown the Americans that they need partners," he added.

Caroline Wyatt :: Paris correspondent

Behind the scenes, the French government has long had to be prepared for a second Bush administration. Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said he took his hat off to American democracy and was impressed by the sheer number of voters going to the polls.

Some French politicians were less tactful - with at least one opposition Socialist describing Bush as one of the worst presidents America has ever had.

The French government will have to take a more pragmatic view and it is consoling itself with the thought that at least President Bush is a known quantity.

Privately, many also believe he will have to ensure that relations with Europe do improve if he is to secure more international allies to help resolve the difficult situation in Iraq.

Magdi Abdelhadi :: BBC Arabic analyst in Cairo

Egyptians have followed the news of the presidential election with great interest, but it is an interest tinged with an equally great sense of despondency.

For most people do not see much difference between the incumbent Mr Bush and his rival Mr Kerry.

Those who wanted Mr Bush to be defeated did so not because they knew a lot about his Democratic rival, but because they hated Mr Bush's foreign policy so much that they wanted change - any change.

High on everyone's mind here is Mr Bush's decision to invade Iraq and his unwavering support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a much-hated figure in the Arab world.

Arab governments know they will have to work harder to promote Arab interests with whomever is elected to the White House. And most people agree that will not be easy.

Aqatoun, the daily newspaper cartoon, summed up the mood in the Arab world eloquently. It depicts a working-class man turning on the television to get the latest on the US election, with the sarcastic caption: "Let us find out which of the two men will set the world alight."

Claire Marshall :: Baghdad correspondent

The overwhelming wish of the vast majority people in Iraq is for the return of security and stability. The country seems to be divided on whether George Bush will deliver this.

A recent poll of 2,000 people by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies showed that, before the election, Iraqis were evenly split on who they wanted to win.

There seem to be two camps. One believes that George Bush is to be thanked for toppling the dictator who had ruled Iraq for more than thirty years. Gazwan Emad Jameel, 20, told me, "Of course we support George Bush. He got rid of Saddam Hussein".

President Bush has now been given the time to finish what he started. He has pledged to keep US troops here until the job is done.

In the words of Professor Mohammed Adani, of the University of Baghdad, "most people are very afraid of the horrors of a civil war. The existence of coalition forces could stop this. George Bush has a project - he gave his word to turn Iraq in to some kind of a middle-eastern paradise. They have hopes in this".

However, there are others who hold George Bush responsible for the mess the country is in today, and would rather that he was not leading the US for another four years. Zenab Hussein, who works in a hotel bar, said: " Our situation is so bad. We now live like the Palestinians. George Bush started it all. But Kerry is a man of peace"

However, most of the 135,000 American troops stationed here in Iraq seem to be behind their leader. Sergeant Tod Feegan, from South Dakota is based near Falluja: "John Kerry has always just been weak. He's always wanted to negotiate his way out of things. And some people you just can't negotiate with. This country, after so many years under Saddam Hussein, the only thing they understand is strength... I think to change Presidents at this point in the game would have been a bad move."

US Marine Lance Chase Frost, from Louisiana, is 20 years old. "It seems we still have some good hearted Americans who want the right thing to be done about terrorism," he says. "I'd say at least 80% of the military voted Republican. If they voted for Kerry then they're selfish, and not defending the people back home"

Nick Bryant :: BBC correspondent in Islamabad

The long-held perception in South Asia is that Democratic presidents are good for India, and that Republicans favour Pakistan. At the height of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan happily formed a pragmatic alliance with Pakistan leader General Zia ul-Haq to fund and equip the Mujahideen. In much the same way, George W Bush has embraced General Pervez Musharraf to flush out al-Qaeda, overlooking the awkward fact that a military coup brought him to power.

When running for the presidency in 1999, Mr Bush famously could not recall the Pakistani leader's name. Post 9/11, the general emerged as a key partner in his administration's fight against terror. Not only has President Bush provided the Pakistani president with increased aid, but conferred respectability - with the general among a select group of world leaders to visit the presidential retreat at Camp David.

The feeling in Islamabad was that John Kerry would have been more critical of the Pakistani leader - not only raising concerns about his democratic credentials, partly over the so-called uniform issue, but focusing more attention on A.Q. Khan, the Pakistan nuclear scientist at the centre of a proliferation scandal earlier this year.

Criticisms from the Bush administration have been much more muted, for it realises that Mr Musharraf walks a treacherous tightrope - wanting, on the one hand, to remove the threat of al-Qaeda from his own soil, but worried about inflaming Muslim opinion in the process.

Sarah Rainsford :: Moscow correspondent

The Russian president never made a secret of his support for George Bush and he reiterated that today even before the result was confirmed.

Vladimir Putin said he would be happy if George Bush was returned to office. He said that would show America had not been intimidated by terrorists.

He hailed Mr Bush as a tough character and a predictable partner. Moscow was worried a Kerry victory would mean more criticism from Washington - of Russian domestic policy, and policy in Chechnya in particular.

George Bush has kept quiet on both fronts, perhaps in recognition of Russia's role in the wider war on terror.

Public opinion here was subdued - but fairly evenly divided. Many people were opposed to the war in Iraq, but quote a Russian saying that now is a very bad time to change horses.

Jon Devitt :: UK political correspondent

The UK prime minister's active and loyal support for President Bush's foreign policy agenda suggests he was hardly a neutral observer in the presidential race. Mr Blair's cooperation is based on more than the normal desire of a British leader to feel special in Washington.

The prime minister shares the president's fears about weapons proliferation and rogue states. He also has a much higher regard for Mr Bush's intellect than is fashionable in London.

President Bush's re-election would therefore appear to be a blessing for Mr Blair. If John Kerry had been elected, Mr Blair would be increasingly isolated in justifying the reasons for going to the war in Iraq.

However, there are plenty of reasons why Mr Blair would have liked to put aspects of the Bush agenda behind him.

The war in Iraq was highly unpopular within Mr Blair's own Labour Party, and whatever Mr Blair's own views, there were many, including senior ministers, hoping for a Kerry victory.

Labour is much closer to the Democrats in its social and domestic agenda and on wider international issues, such as climate change or peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.


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