US polls: Italian PM congratulates Obama on presidential victory

Rome, 5 Nov. (AKI) - Italy's conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday congratulated United States President-elect Barack Obama on his landslide victory on Tuesday. "After a difficult campaign against a formidable adversary, I wish him well," said Berlusconi.

"I am sure that Italy's cooperation with the US, a brave and free country, will continue to increase, as it has in past years," Berlusconi (photo) said.

"We have always had good cooperation with any US president. I have had a good relationship with [outgoing US President George W.] Bush and had an excellent one with Clinton," he stated.

"I should be able to give him some advice, because I am older than him," said the 72-year-old Berlusconi, who is currently leading his fourth government since 1994.

World leaders on Wednesday hailed Obama's convincing victory over his Republican rival John McCain. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised Obama's "inspirational" electoral campaign. Indian Premier Manmohan Singh called it an "extraordinary" victory.

Kuwait's Emir, Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah also congratulated Obama in a telegram. "The historic ties that link both countries and the strong bonds of friendship will continue in the future considering our shared outlook in many areas," he said.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said she anticipated "closer and more trusting cooperation between the United States and Europe" under Obama's leadership.

Obama's "exceptional campaign" had showed the entire world "the vitality of American democracy," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a letter to Obama.

Russia's President Dmitri Medvedev said he hoped Obama's victory would improve bilateral ties.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the US and EU must work together "to change the current (financial) crisis into a new opportunity."

"We need a new deal for a new world," Barroso said in a statement.

Obama, the Democratic Party candidate, took 51.9 percent of votes, earning him 349 seats in the Electoral College, compared with 46.8 percent for Republican Party candidate John McCain (who won 162 seats in the Electoral College).

Many parts of the US recorded a record turnout in what observers have termed an historic election. Obama will be the first African American president of the United States when he is sworn in in January.

The Democratic Party has also won a clear majority in both houses of the US Congress.


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