The polls won international applause but a cool response from Taiwan's political community. The Washington-based National Democratic Institute said the record turnout showed a thirst for democracy. 'This was the first election since the de-colonisation. I think that the citizens of Hong Kong wanted to make a statement on that point and so they came to the polls,' said Eugene Eidenberg, spokesman for the institute's delegation. The watchdog applauded the polling arrangements after touring polling stations on Sunday. The European Union said it was impressed by the high public participation in what it described as 'well-organised' elections. 'The citizens of Hong Kong have confirmed that they are attached to the principle of having a say in the running of their affairs,' said Etienne Reuter of the European Commission. Politicians and analysts in Taiwan welcomed pro-democracy legislators' impressive showing, saying it was a 'symbolic success' in an 'unfair game'. The Taiwanese observers said the polls would serve as an 'indicator' of how Beijing's 'one country, two systems' formula worked. However, the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which advocates an independent Taiwan, said it was a negative lesson. Party secretary-general Chiou I-jen said the elections were not a form of democracy and 'could not reflect the people's will at all'.