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Small blasts mar voting in Peru, no injuries

Written by: Staff

LIMA, Peru, Apr 9 (Reuters) Two small explosions were heard in Peru's central Andes during the presidential election today, but they were far from any voting stations and there were no injuries or damage, a spokeswoman for the Peruvian election authority ONPE said.

''There were two explosions in two districts in the Huanuco region, which caused alarm, but things quickly returned to normal,'' she said.

She could provide no further information about what caused the blasts, but police said they had detained two people.

Huanuco is a stronghold of Peru's Maoist Shining Path rebel movement and produces coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine.

Miguel Abanto, an ONPE official, told CPN radio the blasts had had no affect on voting in Peru's general election.

Peruvians were voting for a new president, all 123 members of Congress and Peru's representatives to the Andean parliament today. In a presidential contest expected to go into a second round, according to pre-election polls, the leading candidate was Ollanta Humala, a 43-year-old former army commander, who campaigned on a nationalist, populist platform.

His two closest competitors were Alan Garcia, a left-of-center former president, and Lourdes Flores, a pro-business conservative former congresswoman who would be Peru's first woman president if she wins.

Reuters VJ VP0230

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