The European Union (EU) applauded on Wednesday the smooth parliamentary elections in Bangladesh and called on the country's political parties to seek new solutions to the challenges of its governance.
"I learned with satisfaction that the elections for the ninth Jatiya Sangshad of Bangladesh were conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner and that Bangladeshi people went to the polls in significant numbers," Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, said in a statement.
"With these elections, the Bangladeshi people have drawn to a close the period of interim government and opened the way to a legitimately elected government," she said.
The commissioner urged the parties in parliament to address the challenges that Bangladesh faces and ensure that the new body of lawmakers functions in a democratic, effective manner so that the opposition can exercise its rights.
According to the Bangladesh Election Commission (EC), the Awami League led by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina overwhelmingly won Monday's parliamentary vote, securing 231 of the total 299 seats. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia-led gained only 29 seats. The Awami League was expected to form the next government.
The ninth parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held Jan. 22, 2007, but were postponed by President Iajuddin Ahmed due to the deteriorated political situation in the country.
The new caretaker government headed by former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed took office Jan. 12, 2007, and promised to hold free, fair elections.