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Pres. Obama's re-election celebrated around world

By Margie Mason

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012 1:43 a.m. MST

TV cameramen and photographers stand on stage with cutouts of U.S. Presidential candidates, Mitt Romney, right, and Barack Obama, as Americans and supporters gather at the American Club in Singapore to watch the live coverage of the election Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

Wong Maye-E, Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — From his old school in Indonesia to a Japanese beach town that happens to share his name, people around the world cheered President Barack Obama's re-election Wednesday and expressed hope that he will help allay global conflicts and economic woes.

The results of Tuesday's election were closely watched in many countries. Several U.S. embassies held mock elections and threw parties as returns came in.

At Jakarta's Menteng 01 Elementary School, which Obama once attended, students happily marched with a poster of the president from one classroom to another after hearing that he had defeated Republican Mitt Romney to win a second term. "Obama wins ... Obama wins again," they shouted.

A statue of a young "Barry" Obama, as he was called as a child, stands outside the school.

"I want to be like him, the president," student Alexander Ananta said.

The news also thrilled Obama's former nanny in Indonesia, Evie, who became well known this year following reports of her struggles living in the conservative country as a transgender.

"Hopefully, he will contribute to the betterment of not only American citizens, but to the world as well," said Evie, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

China's Foreign Ministry said President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiaobao phoned Obama to congratulate him. Vice President Xi Jinping, who is to begin taking over this week in China's once-a-decade leadership transition, phoned Vice President Joe Biden to congratulate him.

British Prime Minister David Cameron posted his regards on Twitter: "Warm congratulations to my friend (at)BarackObama. Look forward to continuing to work together."

Though Iranian media have long said the country saw little difference between Obama and Romney on tensions over Tehran's nuclear program, that did not stop the semiofficial Fars news agency for rolling out the vivid headline, "Republican's elephant crushed by Democrat's donkey."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a strained relationship with the American president over his policies on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, congratulated the president in a text message to reporters. "I will continue to work with President Obama to preserve the strategic interests of Israel's citizens," he said.

The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has been disappointed that Obama did not pressure Israel to make greater efforts to make peace with the Palestinians, including a freeze on all settlement construction. In the absence of negotiations, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat urged the U.S. president to reverse course and support Palestinian efforts to seek U.N. General Assembly recognition of an independent state of Palestine.

"We have decided to take our cause to the United Nations this month, and we hope that Obama will stand by us," Erekat told Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency.

In China, Obama's re-election was good news for people concerned about Romney's vow to label China a currency manipulator if elected. Some feared that would ignite a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

"His re-election is in line with what the Chinese people want," said Hong Zihan, a graduate student who monitored the results at a U.S. Embassy event in Beijing.

For Obama, Japan, the president's re-election means more opportunity to capitalize on their shared name. Obama means "little beach" in Japanese.

The western coastal town threw a party as they watched the election returns. Hula dancers known as the Obama Girls swayed in homage of the president's home state of Hawaii, said Obama city hall official Hirokazu Yomo.

"Four more years," Yomo said. "So we are happy this will continue and help with building our city."

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