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EU congratulates people of Pakistan on historic elections

BRUSSELS, May 13 (KUNA) -- EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, Monday hailed Saturdays general elections in Pakistan as a "historic victory" for democracy in the country.
"I wish to congratulate the people of Pakistan. The 2013 general election marks a historic victory for the democratic life of their country," she said in a statement.
Ashton noted that "despite an extremely difficult security environment and threats from extremists, voters turned out in unprecedented numbers with many Pakistani citizens voting for the first time." "All the main stakeholders, in particular the political parties and state institutions, acted in a responsible manner, demonstrating their support for democracy and the holding of the elections," she stressed.
The EU foreign policy chief welcomed the progress made by the Pakistani authorities in their efforts "to hold these elections in line with national and international commitments." "There is also a need for a further increase in the level of womens participation in the overall political system," she stressed.
"The EU is a close partner to Pakistan. I look forward to continue our strong partnership in support of Pakistan's democratic, economic and social development," she added. (end) nk.sd KUNA 131701 May 13NNNN