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Last updated: 05 November, 2008 - Published 11:50 GMT
 
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President congratulates Obama
 
President Rajapaksa
President says he has been following the elections 'closely'
The president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has expressed great pleasure at the success of the US president-elect Senator Barack Obama at the Tuesday’s elections.

The Sri Lankan president said he has been following Mr. Obama’s election campaign ‘closely’.

"I have been impressed by the freshness and candour that you introduced to the US political landscape and the hope that you generated in the United States, in particular and the wider world, in general. I am convinced that under your leadership, the United States, which has always been a beacon to the world on many an issue, will continue to provide that leadership in a re-invigorated manner,” a statement issued by the presidential secretariat quoted Mr. Rajapaksa.

'Change has come'

Democratic Senator Barack Obama has been elected the first black president of the United States.

"It's been a long time coming, but tonight... change has come to America," the president-elect told a jubilant crowd at a victory rally in Chicago.

Barack Obama with his family
Mr. Obama says 'change has come to America'

His rival John McCain accepted defeat, saying "I deeply admire and commend" Mr Obama. He called on his supporters to lend the next president their goodwill.

The BBC's Justin Webb says the result will have a profound impact on the US.

He says the American people have made two fundamental statements about themselves: that they are profoundly unhappy with the status quo, and that they are slamming the door on the country's racial past.

Mr Obama appeared with his family, and his running mate Joe Biden, before a crowd of tens of thousands in Grant Park, Chicago.

Many people in the vast crowd, which stretched back far into the Chicago night, wept as Mr Obama spoke.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," he said.

 
 
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