KATMANDU, Nepal - An outburst of bloodshed that killed eight people cast a shadow on an election today meant to cement Nepal's peace deal with communist insurgents, stoking fears of more violence on voting day.
The voting for a new assembly is intended to usher in sweeping changes for this long-troubled Himalayan country, and is likely to mean the end of a centuries-old royal dynasty.
But with one candidate gunned down, a protester shot dead by police, and six former rebels slain in a clash with police, it was clear that fashioning a lasting peace in this largely impoverished, often ill-governed, and frequently violent country will not be easy.
The demonstrator was killed Wednesday after police fired on a mob smashing shops and vandalizing buses to protest the slaying a day earlier of a candidate in the Surkhet district, police Chief Ram Kumar Khanal said.
Police did not have any suspects in slaying.
A curfew was imposed in the remote district, and authorities said they would delay voting in the area by at least a week. The election would go ahead elsewhere.
Dozens of parties, from centrist democrats to former Maoist rebels to old-school royalists, were competing for seats in a new Constituent Assembly, which will govern Nepal and rewrite its constitution.
The vote is the first in the two years since King Gyanendra was forced to end his royal dictatorship and the Maoist movement gave up its decadelong fight for a communist state that left about 13,000 people dead.