Saturday, November 8, 2008

DPA -- Democrats Abroad Get Ready to Party in Asia

Democrats Abroad get ready to party in Asia
4 November 2008
BANGKOK - Democrats Abroad members will be gathering in special venues throughout Asia, from a secret 'watering hole' in alcohol-free Kabul to a popular barbecue house in Bangkok, to watch the US election results on Wednesday, Asia time.

If pre-election interest is anything to go by, the turnout to watch the televised results abroad is expected to break records for Democrats Abroad - the official arm of the Democratic Party for Americans living outside of the United States.

"Democrats Abroad in Thailand has more than tripled our membership in the past 10 months," said Phil Robertson, chairman of Democrats Abroad Thailand. "I've never seen such excitement over an election."

In BangkokS embassy has organized an election watch for American citizens at the swank Grand Hyatt Hotel Wednesday, while Democrats Abroad has planned a separate event at the Roadhouse Barbecue restaurant.

"I predict the Roadhouse is going to be the wilder scene," said Robertson, echoing the great optimism that Democrat candidate Barack Obama is the likely winner of the US presidential election.

Similar election-watching gatherings of Democrats Abroad in Asia are planned throughout Asia including in alcohol-free Afghanistan, at a "local water hole" and the Brass Monkey Bar and Restaurant in Taipei.

Final results of the election will only be known by Wednesday in most Asian countries because of the time difference.

While this election has generated uncommon interest among Democrats Abroad, which has opened new chapters in Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Nepal and Malaysia, the exact number of overseas American eligible to vote on Tuesday remains a mystery.

What seems clear, from feedback at the chapters, is that more Democrats abroad have bothered to register and submit their ballots in this election than in the previous 2004 presidential contest.

"Our phone calls to our members all around Thailand show that 93 per cent of them have cast their ballot," said Robertson.

"We're extremely excited for the election returns to come in on November 5, and we have a reason to be. Finally we will have an American leader in the 21st century that we can be proud of."

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