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Obama praises democratic transition in Pakistan

Monday - 5/13/2013, 11:38am  ET

Former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N party Nawaz Sharif, center, addresses his supporters as his brother Shahbaz Sharif, right, and daughter Maryam Nawaz, second from left, listen at a party office in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. Sharif declared victory following an election marred by violence Saturday. Unofficial, partial vote counts show Sharif's party with an overwhelming lead. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is praising Pakistanis for upholding what he calls their commitment to democratic rule by successfully completing parliamentary elections.

With the weekend vote, the parliament was able to complete its term and transfer power in democratic elections for the first time since Pakistan's founding in 1947.

Obama hails "this historic peaceful and transparent transfer of civilian power."

The president says Pakistanis ran competitive campaigns and persevered despite "intimidation by violent extremists."

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seems ready to return to power for a third term.

He's expected to be more nationalistic and protective of state sovereignty than the outgoing government.

But U.S.-Pakistan relations aren't expected to change radically. Pakistan's army plays a dominant role in foreign policy and isn't eager to lose millions in U.S. military aid.


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