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Low turnout and localised violence mark Nepal's local elections

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Low turnout and localised violence mark Nepal's local elections

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Nepal’s first voting in seven years has been marked by low turnout and violence.

The local elections were boycotted by the main opposition parties and Maoist rebels, who called them a sham meant to shore up the rule of King Gyanendra, who seized power a year ago. The Maoists launched several attacks overnight and set off bombs near polling booths on Wednesday. The main opposition party said 1,000 people were arrested across the country in a bid to stifle protests. One demonstrator was shot dead by police. In many places, heavily armed troops outnumbered voters after rebels threatened reprisals against anyone taking part in the vote. The rebels, apparently satisfied at the low turnout, have now called off a general strike.