Nepal Democrats celebrate Obama victory in Kathmandu

November 5th, 2008 - 5:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaKathmandu, Nov 5 (IANS) One month ago, Nepal’s astrologers had predicted victory for Barack Obama and the prediction came true Wednesday with the 47-year-old making history by becoming the first non-white president of the US.In keeping with the series of firsts in the incredible 44th American presidential election, now nearly 200 people - Democrats from the US, Nepal and other countries - are going to celebrate the victory in Kathmandu Wednesday evening.

The Obama Victory Celebration is being organised by Nepal Democrats Abroad, the Nepal chapter of Global Democrats Abroad, the umbrella of expatriate American democrats.

“I was thrilled to learn about Obama’s victory,” says Marcela Sandoval, president of Nepal Democrats Abroad.

“There have been two wars - in Iraq and Afghanistan - and now we have the financial crisis. Obviously George Bush has done something wrong. We need a change and we need to approach democracy differently.”

Sandoval, daughter of a Mexican immigrant, empathised with Obama, also regarded as an outsider first due to his Kenyan father. She had worked with the Clinton campaign in the past and after arriving in Kathmandu two and a half years ago, felt the need to register Americans who worked, studied or led retired lives in the Himalayan nation, so that they could vote.

“It is very important that you exercise your right to vote,” she says. “When you pay taxes, you should also vote.”

The year 2008 also saw Americans living outside the US allowed for the first time to vote in the primary as a group.

Nepal Democrats Abroad took the initiative of organising two events in Kathmandu for Americans to vote and listen to the presidential debates.

The Obama campaign stole a march over rival John McCain by vigorously organising voters abroad. It posted staffers in India, China, Thailand and other countries and about two weeks ago, the Obama campaign official from India arrived in Kathmandu to ensure that the ballots sent by post had reached.

Nepalis at home as well as those living in the US had also been mostly rooting for Obama, hoping he would bring in more liberal US policies.

Nepal’s ruling Maoist party, for instance, is hoping that Washington would take off the terrorist tag it attached to the party when it was waging an armed revolt.

Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” told the Bush administration during his visit to the US in September that Nepal had undergone a sea change with his former guerrilla party now having laid down arms and winning an election. The US should take note of the changes, he said.

Sandoval feels there are many similarities between Nepal and the US now. Both are headed for momentous changes and both have to be patient.

Both the peoples are thinking that their children should have a better future, she said.

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