British Prime Minister Tony Blair has succeeded in gaining a third historical victory for the Labour Party in the 2005 General Election. However, the majority that the Labour Party had in its previous term has been significantly reduced.
Before the elections, Blair stated his intention to serve another full term before he will pass on his position as Labour leader - most likely to his finance minister, Gordon Brown. However, there is now big question whether this will happen due to the rapid drop of the Labour majority in Parliament - which may no longer allow a secure passage for radical public services reforms the Labour Party has been planning.
Winning his own seat again, Blair - who faced a mini-Tory revival and some objections over the war in Iraq - said, "I know too that Iraq has been a divisive issue in this country but I hope now that we can unite again and look to the future there and here...it seems as if the it is clear that the British people wanted the return of the Labour Government but with a reduced majority. And we have to respond to that sensibly and wisely and responsibly."
The war in Iraq and Blair's support has caused strong feelings among many. However, leaders all over the world have already voiced their admiration over the way he overcame the conflict, and many have praised his leadership qualities.
New Zealand's Labour Party Prime Minister Helen Clark said through a spokesman, "The war in Iraq has clearly been a divisive issue [for Britain]". But despite this fact, the British Labour Party was able to deliver a "strong and stable government."
"I have long regarded Mr. Blair's courage on the issue of Iraq as displaying strong leadership," said Australian Prime Minister John Howard. "He had to fight very strong opposition within his own ranks, and the steadfastness and commitment he displayed on that issue certainly impressed me."
Thailand's government has shown its opinion that Britain's growing economy outweighed the negative impact of the Iraq war. "The results of the election came out as expected with the British people still supporting Prime Minister Tony Blair for his efforts at improving the economy," said spokesman Chalermdej Chopoonut. "The British people have given priority to an improving economy rather than the Iraq War."
Industry leaders in India also welcomed Blair's re-election. "Tony Blair is a very pro-business leader. His third term is going to be conducive and supportive to global business," said L. S. Ram, executive director of Crossdomains - a Bangalore-based company that does accounting work for companies abroad.
According to a number of press releases, the Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga also congradulated Blair. Both reportedly looked forward to having further cooperation with Britain.