Senator Barack Obama’s victory in the U.S. presidential election demonstrated two significant things: anything is possible in the U.S. and race is no longer an obstacle to being elected, said U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Vincent Obsitnik at a special election-discussion panel in Bratislava on November 5.
Domestic issues such as the country's energy security and the economy were crucial to the victory, Obsitnik said, adding that we shouldn’t expect a significant shift from the current administration in terms of foreign policy, especially in intercontinental relations. Relations between the U.S. and Europe will be crucial, mainly in the struggle with the global financial crisis, the TASR newswire wrote.
Former Slovak ambassador to the U.S. Rastislav Káčer said that he had never seen such high expectations in a U.S. presidential campaign.
"People were literally hungry for change,” he said. “They've been looking for somebody who can restore trust in the U.S. across the world."
Martin Bútora, another former Slovak ambassador to the U.S., said the selection of an African-American candidate indicates the end of prejudice and the victory of democratic principles.
"Everybody should be proud of this,” he said, “no matter whether they are Republican or Democrat.”
Káčer added, “The U.S. has extended its hand towards Slovakia for co-operation."
This was in reference to the upcoming introduction of a visa-free regime for Slovak tourists.
Obsitnik doesn't yet know when he will end his term in office in Slovakia. He pointed to U.S. legislation which states all ambassadors have to resign at the inauguration of a new president. Bútora expects a co-operative atmosphere between America's two main political parties, and hopes that Obama will "keep those men and women who have served the U.S. well in their posts".
The discussion panel, held at the Carlton Hotel in Bratislava, served as a sequel to a 12-hour marathon event organised by the U.S. Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce, at which the guests watched the results come in across the U.S. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
6. Nov 2008 at 9:30