Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thai News Agency -- Democrats Voting in Bangkok

Americans cast ballots in Thailand for new US president

by Lance Woodruff

BANGKOK, Feb 5 (TNA) - Americans in Thailand – in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nong Khai and Udorn – are voting in Super Tuesday, an historic international primary.

On Super Tuesday in Bangkok, Americans joined their compatriots in Tokyo, Manila, Phnom Penh and Paris, for example, in casting paper ballots which will be sent air express to Geneva, Switzerland for official counting.

"The American public have had enough of George W. Bush and his failed war in Iraq and failed economic policies," said Democrats Abroad chairman Phil Robertson.

For the first time in United States political history, Americans around the world have voted for a change of government in Washington by casting their ballots formally in recognised polling stations in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nong Khai and Udon Thani in Thailand, and more than 100 other cities worldwide. .

Super Tuesday in the United States—like last Sunday's Super Bowl football contest -- is 'super' because it's the biggest primary election day for the 2008 presidential race.

Americans living overseas at some 100 locations around the world – beginning with Jakarta, Indonesia, where the American polls opened at midnight local time – voted Tuesday in the first offshore primary elections in American history. The Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok was the venue for America's first offshore polls in Thailand.

For some Americans it is their very first election. For 18-year-old Bouquet Harger, a Matayom Six student at Mater Dei Institute in Bangkok, a Thai-American excited by the choice she had to vote – her very first as a Thai or as an American -- for the first American woman president in history, or perhaps America's first Black president.

But her years in one of Bangkok's finest girls' schools have prepared her for citizenship not only in Thailand, but as a world citizen. And as a Thai-American she has the privilege of being a citizen in two countries.

American Democrats by definition are voting for what some would call 'regime change', suggests Democrats Abroad in Thailand chairman Phil Robertson, as Republican George W. Bush has occupied the White House for two terms, and Democrats, by definition, want a Democrat in that office.

But more than that, according to Mr. Robertson, "many American voters casting their ballots today are opposed to misguided American military intervention in Iraq and the threat of further adventures in the Middle East, and the failed economic polices of President George Bush."

Numbers of independents and Republican American voters are coming out to register as Democrats, Mr., Robertson says, because they are dissatisfied with the course of the American politics, from the war in Iraq, to the meltdown of American social services and the sub-prime mortgage lending crisis. They are voting to repudiate the polices of the Bush administration, he said.

Americans around the world are also voting for Joe Biden, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson, but for the climate of the polling booths in Bangkok, it looks like it will be a close race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which may not be decided until the Democratic National Convention in Denver in Colorado.

Thailand-generated American Democrat votes be pivotal in influencing the US Democratic presidential candidate in November, says Mr. Robertson, who predicts that whatever candidate the Democrats field in August, they will sweep the polls against the Republican candidate, which at this point looks like Sen. John McCain, who is respected by most Democrats, even if they don't agree with his politics.

The US Presidential election will take place on Tuesday November 4, when the successor to President George W. Bush is chosen by American voters.

Additional American voting will take place again on Saturday from 3-8:30pm in Bangkok and on Saturday and Sunday in NongKhai and Udon Thani. (TNA)

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