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Cambodia Looks On as America Re-Elects Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama, who won a second term in office by defeating Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, addresses supporters during his election night victory rally in Chicago, November 7, 2012.

Cambodian-Americans came out to vote Tuesday, as their countrymen in Cambodia looked on, awaiting an election of their own next year. In Cambodia, Americans watched election results come in from the US Embassy, as Cambodian officials welcomed the results.

“I hope the cooperation between the two countries will not change much,” said Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Opposition supporters have called on Barack Obama to push the government for free and fair elections later this month when he attends regional summits in Phnom Penh. Foreign affairs officials have said the elections and human rights issues are not on the agenda.

US Ambassador William Todd said the US relationship with Cambodia will continue to strengthen.

In the US, Cambodian-Americans watched as Obama reclaimed the presidency, defeating his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. Much of the vote revolved around whether the incumbent or his challenger could improve the lilting economy in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown.

In his acceptance speech, Obama said he was committed to moving the country “forward” by lessening divisions among Americans and helping more people achieve their goals. Much of the election centered on the US economy. Enough Americans believed Obama’s campaign claims, that he is improving the economy at home, to deliver him a second term in office.

“I believe he can do it, because he presented a lot of good ideas,” said Suy Senghong, a business owner in Tampa, Fla., a key battleground state.

However, voters like Ou Kimhuot, a civil engineer from Philadelphia, Penn., remain dubious. “What was laid out by candidate Romney was more convincing,” Ou Kimhuot said after the election. “I am not so confident that Obama’s team can deliver economic success. So the people here will continue to be out of work.”

Still, Prom Suanora, a civil engineer in Fairfax, Va., said Romney’s plans did not provide enough detail. “Some people see that Romney is from the upper class, so his approach is slower than President Obama, who is more flexible and from a working class family,” Prom Saunora said.