Obama hails Pakistan election as ‘significant milestone’ for nation

President Obama hailed Pakistan on its election this weekend, calling it a "significant milestone" for the nation's democracy.

In a statement released Sunday, the president congratulated the Pakistani people on their parliamentary elections, which marked the first time the nation transferred power from one elected government to another.

"The United States stands with all Pakistanis in welcoming this historic peaceful and transparent transfer of civilian power, which is a significant milestone in Pakistan’s democratic progress," he said. "By conducting competitive campaigns, freely exercising your democratic rights, and persevering despite intimidation by violent extremists, you have affirmed a commitment to democratic rule that will be critical to achieving peace and prosperity for all Pakistanis for years to come."

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Nawaz Sharif declared victory Saturday, as he was projected to return to power, securing a third term as Pakistan's prime minister under his party, the Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz.

The current party in power, the Pakistan People's Party, was projected to lose many seats.

While Taliban pressure and attacks did weigh on the campaign, the nation's election commission reported turnout was roughly 60 percent, according to the BBC. Twenty-four people were killed Saturday while polls were open.

Obama said the United States looked forward to continuing to work together on mutual interests with the nation as it transitioned to a new party in power.

"My administration looks forward to continuing our cooperation with the Pakistani government that emerges from this election as equal partners in supporting a more stable, secure, and prosperous future for the people of Pakistan," he said.

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