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Nepal votes in historic polls

April 10, 2008
Nepal voted on Thursday in landmark elections to choose a constituent assembly that will seal the fate of the embattled monarchy and decide the country's future political system, marking the culmination of a peace deal with the former Maoists rebels.

Some reports of violence came in from southern and central Nepal after the polls opened at 7 am (0645 IST) in 20,800 polling booths across the country. Some 17.6 million voters are eligible to cast their votes.

Maoist cadres torched a polling booth in Galkot, west of Kathmandu, while motorcycle-riding gunmen shot at one candidate in southern Janakpur, who escaped unhurt, reports said.

Voting was suspended at three polling stations in Chitwan district after a scuffle between two groups.

Nepal has witnessed a violence-marred campaign for the crucial elections to elect a 601-member body that will rewrite the Constitution and decide the fate of the monarchy.

Image: Nepalese women wait for their turn to cast their vote at a polling station in Bharatpur, some 90 km south of Kathmandu on April 10, 2008.

Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

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