ASBAREZ Online [11-03-2004]


1) Bush Wins Re-Election, Reaches Out to Foes
2) Newly Elected ARF Body Reveals Priorities
3) Abkhaz Presidential Contenders Seek Crisis Resolution in Moscow
4) Republicans Boosts Senate Majority
5) Republicans Extend Decade of House Control
6) Terror Fears, Economy Spur US Voters

1) Bush Wins Re-Election, Reaches Out to Foes

WASHINGTON (Reuters)–President Bush won re-election to a second four-year
over Democratic Sen. John Kerry on Wednesday and promised deeply divided
Americans he would earn their support and trust.
“A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation,” he
said in
a victory speech in Washington. “When we come together and work together,
is no limit to the greatness of America.”
Speaking directly to supporters of Kerry, Bush said: “I will need your
support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can to deserve your
Bush clinched victory in a bitter eight-month struggle for the White House
when Kerry ended the suspense of a vote-counting battle in the decisive state
of Ohio and conceded the election. Kerry called Bush and later told supporters
in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall that “I hope we can begin the healing.”
In a dispute that evoked memories of the prolonged election recount in
in 2000, delays in counting provisional and absentee ballots in Ohio had
postponed the final outcome of the presidential election for hours.
Ohio’s 20 electoral votes were the final hurdle to Bush capturing an
College majority of 270 votes after a divisive campaign that focused on the
in Iraq, the battle against global terrorism and the economy.
“I would not give up this fight if there was a chance we could prevail,” an
emotional Kerry said in Boston. “There won’t be enough outstanding votes
for us
to be able to win Ohio, and therefore we cannot win this election.”
Bush begins his second term with the daunting challenges of a worsening
insurgency in Iraq–the aftermath of his decision to invade the country in
2003–and soaring federal budget deficits.
Republicans also celebrated expanded majorities in the House of
Representatives and the Senate in results likely to build the president’s
mandate and ease Bush’s conservative agenda in Congress.
Bush captured a majority of the popular vote, unlike the disputed 2000
election against Democrat Al Gore. With 99 percent of precincts reporting,
had 51 percent of votes against Kerry’s 48 percent.
Kerry called Bush after meeting with running mate John Edwards and Sen.
Kennedy, his colleague from Massachusetts in the US Senate.
“Sen. Kerry waged a spirited campaign and he and his supporters can be proud
of their efforts,” Bush said.


Kerry said he congratulated Bush and they discussed the country’s divisions
and “the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming
together. Today I hope that we can begin the healing.”
The dispute over uncounted ballots in Ohio had thrown the presidential result
into uncertainty, as Kerry vowed he would not concede until all the
provisional and absentee ballots had been counted while Bush claimed victory.
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card made a predawn appearance before Bush
supporters to say Bush had a “statistically insurmountable” lead in Ohio and
had won a majority of the popular vote.
Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell had estimated as many as
175,000 provisional ballots could be cast, and counties reported as of
Wednesday morning that 135,149 had been issued.
Republicans will hold at least 54 of the 100 Senate seats, three more than
they now have, and widen their slim majority of the 435-member House in the
109th Congress, set to convene on Jan. 3.
That will make it easier for Bush to push his conservative agenda through
Congress, potentially making his tax cuts permanent and appointing more
judges including possibly some US Supreme Court justices.
“With a bigger majority, we can do even more exciting things,” said House
Majority leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Texas.
Stocks soared on news of the win from Bush, with shares of major US drug and
defense companies rising on the expectation those industries would do well
under Bush.
Allies like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister
Berlusconi saw Bush’s victory as bolstering the US-declared “war on terror.”
But some disenchanted Europeans urged Bush to heal transatlantic rifts.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush’s biggest ally in the war in Iraq,
said in London the re-election of Bush came at a critical time when the world
must unite to fight terrorism and Europe must rebuild its relationship with
“We must be relentless in our war against terrorism,” Blair said. “We should
work with President Bush on this agenda.”
Long voter lines were reported across the United States on Tuesday and few
major voting glitches were recorded in the final act of the long campaign.
With 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, Bush had captured 29
states with 274 electoral votes. Kerry won 19 states and the District of
Columbia and 252 votes. Bush held a lead of 3.5 million votes over Kerry
nationwide with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.
Still undecided were Iowa and New Mexico, but only Ohio could make either
candidate a winner.

2) Newly Elected ARF Body Reveals Priorities

YEREVAN (YERKIR)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s (ARF) Supreme Body (SB)
representative Armen Rustamian, and SB member and National Assembly’s ARF
faction leader Levon Mkrtchian, held a news conference on Wednesday, following
the organization’s 8th Supreme Convention last weekend.
Rustamian noted that the convention was unique in nature, considering the ARF
is now a partner in the coalition government.
The convention pointed out that a great deal of the priorities included in
ruling coalition’s memorandum [drafted at the time of its formation] have not
been fulfilled; Rustamian added that the coalition did succeed, however, in
easing political tension and maintaining stability following elections in
Revealing the convention’s dissatisfaction at the implementation of
anti-corruption measures, Rustamian stressed the newly elected ARF Armenia
will work to establish reforms to permanently change the country’s direction.
“We have consistently said that the country has been heading in the right
direction since 1998, but we need serious steps to make that course
irreversible,” he said.
To reach that goal, we have decided to continue our presence in the coalition
government,” but added that the ARF “reserves the right to reconsider its
participation in the coalition government in the event of a breach of the
spelled out in the [June 2004] memorandum on its creation,”
The convention underscored the importance of Mountainous Karabagh Republic’s
full participation in peace talks to resolve its conflict with Azerbaijan, and
suggested that the Armenian government work with Georgia to alleviate the
deteriorating socio-economic situation of the mostly Armenian populated region
of Javakhk.
With much talk of Turkey’s aspiration to join the European Union (EU), the
convention concluded that its recognition of the 1915 Genocide and a neutral
stance toward the Karabagh conflict be preconditions to EU accession.
Touching on the issue of sending Armenian troops to Iraq, Rustamian said the
convention concluded the Armenian government be guided by UN resolutions, but
also practice caution so as to prevent Armenian communities of the Middle East
from becoming targets of international terrorism.
Concluding the news conference, Rustamian said the convention also discussed
government’s relations with the opposition, as well as constitutional and the
electoral code reforms. The ARF is pushing for electoral reforms to increase
parliamentary seats contested on the party list basis as opposed to individual
races in single-mandate constituencies.

3) Abkhaz Presidential Contenders Seek Crisis Resolution in Moscow

(Civil Georgia)–After two days of talks with unnamed Russian officials in
Moscow, the two principal contenders for Abkhazia’s presidency Raul Khajimba
and Sergey Bagapsh, returned home on November 3. It is unclear, however, if
there was a breakthrough in the political crisis that erupted after the
disputed October 3 presidential elections in the unrecognized republic.
Pro-government presidential candidate Raul Khajimba said there are
possibilities for an agreement–while opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh
insisted he has won at the polls.
“Together with Sergey Bagapsh, we discussed possible ways out of the current
crisis in Abkhazia. Moscow’s climate is better for finding a solution,”
Khajimba told Itar-Tass news agency on November 2.
“I feel that options to overcoming the crisis exist. Everything depends on
Sergey Bagapsh and me,” he added. He refrained from specifying details.
Opposition Abkhaz presidential candidate Bagapsh reiterated that he opposes
holding repeat elections, as demanded by Khajimba.
“Elections have been held and the president has already been elected,” he
RIA Novosti news agency on November 3.
The Central Election Commission announced Bagapsh the winner with 50.08% of
votes–but Khajimba challenged the decision in the Supreme Court. The latter
rejected Khajimba’s appeal on October 28 and, in turn, confirmed Bagapsh as
But with the subsequent storming of the Supreme Court building by Khajimba’s
supporters, the court reversed its decision and ruled new elections be held.
Russia’s open support of pro-governmental candidate Khajimba, has upset
Georgia. Georgia’s Parliament Chair Nino Burjanadze accused Moscow of
double standards when dealing with conflicts in the Caucasus. She said Moscow
is fighting against separatists on its territory in Chechnya while supporting
separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

4) Republicans Boosts Senate Majority

WASHINGTON (AP) –Republicans toppled Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle,
winning their biggest Senate prize after sweeping the South, including a
Florida seat Wednesday. Alaska remained undecided.
Republicans were assured 54 Senate seats, expanding their current 51-48
margin, with one Democratic-leaning independent.
Daschle, who was elected to the Senate in 1986 and also served eight years in
the House, planned to concede midday in Sioux Falls, SD, according to
congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Labeled an obstructionist by Republicans, Daschle garnered 49 percent of the
vote to 51 percent for his GOP challenger, former Rep. John Thune. With all
precincts reporting, Daschle fell short by about 4,500 votes.
The last time a Senate leader was unseated was in 1952, when Barry Goldwater
of Arizona turned Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland out of office.
An Associated Press exit poll showed that South Dakota voters concerned with
moral values and terrorism helped Thune.
Democrats hoped for a defection to ease the pain. Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln
Chafee said he would consider switching parties if President Bush were
”I’m not ruling it out,” Chafee told The Providence Journal. Known for
moderate views that often run counter to the Bush administration, Chafee said
he cast a write-in vote for Bush’s father, George HAW. Bush, in Tuesday’s
election, calling it a ”symbolic protest.”
In Florida, Democrat Betty Castor conceded defeat Wednesday in a tight
with Mel Martinez, a Cuban emigrant who left Bush’s Cabinet to run for the
opened by retiring Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat. Martinez will be the nation’s
first Cuban-American senator.
Republicans were surprised by their Senate showing, winning competitive races
in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana–where the GOP won
first seat since Reconstruction.
Democrats had a nearly insurmountable hurdle to take control of the Senate,
since most of the competitive races were in states where Bush was strong.
In Illinois, state Sen. Barack Obama easily won, making him the only black
member of the new Senate that convenes in January. He cautioned against a GOP
”You still need 60 votes in the Senate to make things happen,” Obama said
Wednesday on NBC’s ”Today.” ”The Republicans don’t have 60 votes. My hope
would be that they recognize that, and the Democrats are willing to serve as a
loyal opposition.”
The strengthened Republican Senate probably will mean more votes to confirm
nominees to the Supreme Court in a second Bush term. One Republican winner,
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, is in line to become chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, which holds confirmation hearings on court nominees.

5) Republicans Extend Decade of House Control

WASHINGTON (AP)–The power of incumbency and an advantageous GOP redistricting
in Texas swept Republicans to another two years of control over the House of
Virtually all sitting representatives in the 435-member House won
leaving Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Tom DeLay and their GOP
majority firmly in charge.
Republicans were poised to add a few seats as they embark on another term of
House control–the first time the party has achieved 12 consecutive years in
power in the chamber since the dozen years that ended in January 1933..
Republican leaders sought to portray the results as an affirmation of their
priorities in Congress. The vote is ”an endorsement by the American people
that you’re moving in the right direction when it comes to security and safety
and more–on terror, prescription drugs and education,” Senate Majority
Bill Frist of Tennessee told CNN.
In the House, Democrats knocked off one Republican incumbent–Rep. Philip M.
Crane of Illinois, the party’s longest-serving member–but came nowhere close
to taking the 12 seats they needed to win back control.
Even celebrity didn’t help. Kentucky Democrat Nick Clooney, father of actor
George Clooney and brother of the late singer-actress Rosemary Clooney, lost
his bid for an open seat to Geoff Davis.
By early Wednesday, Republicans had won 228 seats and were leading in five
other races, which could give them at least 233 seats. Democrats had won 199
seats and led in two other contests.
Republicans hold a 227-205 advantage over Democrats in the outgoing House,
plus two vacant seats formerly held by Republicans who have retired and one
independent who sides with Democrats.
A minimum of 218 seats are needed for House control. A final tally for the
House won’t be available for several days. Two Louisiana races headed toward
runoffs with Republican Billy Tauzin III against Democrat Charlie Melancon,
GOP candidate Charles Boustany and Democrat Willie Mount. Other races were yet
to be called, including in Pennsylvania, Washington state, New York, Georgia
and Indiana.

6) Terror Fears, Economy Spur US Voters

Poll Finds Americans in Pessimistic Frame of Mind

WASHINGTON (AP)–Fears of terror attacks competed in voters’ minds with
pocketbook concerns, Associated Press exit polls found–and the rival worries
kept Tuesday’s race between President Bush and Democrat John Kerry close.
Overall, the polls indicated that Americans were in a pessimistic frame of
Majorities of voters said the war in Iraq is going badly and the economy is
not doing well. But three-fourths said they are worried about the possibility
of another terrorist attack, a factor playing to Bush’s strength.
The poll exploring the voters’ frame of mind was conducted among 9,753 people
who had just cast ballots. It was conducted for AP and the television networks
by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.
“I was really disappointed with both candidates, said Melissa Smith, 40, of
Swift Creek, NC, who said she didn’t finally make up her mind until she filled
out her ballot. “Bush has made some choices for the wrong reasons. But I’m not
sure I think Kerry has the strength to lead us in the right direction.”
Young voters supported Kerry over Bush by more than 15 percentage points, but
the expected surge in their participation this year was not evident. Just
10 percent of voters were between age 18 and 24, about the same share of the
electorate as in 2000. But four years ago, they were evenly split between Bush
and Al Gore.
About a fifth of the voters considered themselves born-again Christians, and
they cast ballots for the president by a 4-1 margin. That’s about the same
margin as in 2000, when Christians who described themselves as part of the
religious right said they were for Bush.
Bush fared best among those who said moral values were the most important
issue, and among those who said terrorism–two of the top issues.

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