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India condemns elections in Nepal

Wednesday's local elections in the impoverished nation were dominated by pro-royal candidates.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 23:28 IST

India on Thursday condemned elections in Nepal called by King Gyanendra, saying they lacked credibility and would not help restore democracy in the Himalayan country.

Wednesday's local elections in the impoverished nation wedged between India and China were dominated by pro-royal candidates and marked by record low voter turnout, pro-democracy protests and a smattering of violence.

New Delhi said the challenges facing Nepal demanded "the initiation of a genuine process of national reconciliation, dialogue and participation."

India's criticism of the elections came after the United States on Wednesday slammed the vote as a "hollow attempt to legitimise power" by Gyanendra.

The polls came "against the backdrop of a boycott by the major recognised political parties, sharp curtailment of their legitimate activities and continued arrest and detention in various forms of many of their leaders," the Indian foreign ministry said.

"Any credible electoral exercise should have the active involvement and participation of all the mainstream parties," it said in a statement.

"Only then would such elections be able to contribute to the restoration of democracy and political stability," it said.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 23:28 IST