Global elections watch: All eyes on U.S. race
Who would foreigners like to see at the helm of the world's superpower – a Republican or Democrat?
Pakistan, Russia, and Zimbabwe are holding elections this year. Cuba's Fidel Castro is talking about retirement. But few leadership changes in 2008 will be as closely watched as the US election. Who Americans want in the Oval Office won't be known until November. Yet from Mexico to Iraq, people are already forming views about who they'd like to see at the helm of the world's only superpower, says correspondent Mark Rice-Oxley in London. A Monitor survey found opinion divided, and often counterintuitive.Skip to next paragraph
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Would you prefer a Democrat or a Republican as the next US president?
Liberals don't necessarily support a Democrat, nor do conservatives necessarily want a Republican. Many people interviewed outside the US said it was time for a change. But some felt that having Democrats in both the White House and Congress could hurt global trade.
"From a Chinese perspective, most people would prefer the Republicans to the Democrats because the Republicans have taken a more liberal approach to trade disputes with China," says Shi Yinhong, head of the American Research Center at Renmin University in Beijing.
"Democrats are a little more protectionist ... and take more of a human rights position," he says.
In Britain, people "like the idea of a woman president or the first black president," says Denis MacShane, a British Labour member of parliament. But he agrees that Britain and Europe were wary of Democrats' protectionist credentials. "Having a Democrat in the White House is not a guarantee that policy on economic, trade and other issues will not be hostile to British and European interests," he says.
While many were critical of President George Bush's foreign-policy "mistakes," others focused on positive steps. Priscilla Maphumulu, a South African optometrist, says that the US administration's commitments to helping tackle the AIDS crisis predispose her toward the Republicans.
In 2003, Mr. Bush committed to spending $15 billion to fighting AIDS over five years, and much of it was directed to Africa. In 2007, he pledged to double that figure over the next five years.
Presidential election calendar
Georgia - Jan. 5
Lebanon - Jan. 12
Serbia - Jan. 20
Czech Republic - Feb. 8
Cyprus - Feb. 17
Armenia - Feb. 19
Russia - March 2
Taiwan - March 22
Zimbabwe - March
Paraguay - April 20
Dominican Republic - May 16
Iceland -June 28
Somaliland - Aug. 31
Azerbaijan - Oct. 15
Palau - Nov. 4
United States - Nov. 4
Maldives - November
Ghana - December
Sources: IFES ELection guide, news wire services