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Commonwealth Secretary-General praises Pakistan for conducting historic poll

13 May 2013
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today congratulated the people of Pakistan for successfully concluding the 11 May 2013 parliamentary elections, and pledged continued support from the organisation as the country consolidates its democracy.

Speaking from St Kitts and Nevis, where he is on an official visit, Mr Sharma praised Pakistan’s voters for turning out in large numbers despite the violence that characterised the elections.

“By coming out in large numbers to exercise their democratic right to choose their leaders, the people of Pakistan are to be congratulated for demonstrating strong faith in democracy. They have contributed to this landmark and historical occasion of having, for the first time, one elected government handing over to another elected government,” the Secretary-General said.

He added: “The Commonwealth family looks forward to working with the in-coming leadership in the country, to continue promoting our values of democracy, development and respect for diversity.”

The Secretary-General also thanked a Commonwealth Observer Mission led by Sir Doug Kidd, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives of New Zealand, which has been in Pakistan to monitor the elections.

In an Interim Statement issued on 13 May 2013, the Commonwealth Observer Mission said that “based on the process up to this point, the 2013 elections represent notable progress for Pakistan towards holding fully democratic elections".