Baku: Voting kicked off for Azerbaijan`s presidential election Wednesday with incumbent President Ilham Aliyev expected to win a third term.
Some 5,492 polling stations in 125 constituencies across the country opened at 8 a.m. (3 a.m. GMT) and will close at 7 p.m. (2 p.m. GMT), Xinhua reported.
About five million eligible voters will cast their ballots, according to Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Mazahir Panahov.
Aliyev cast his vote at No. 6 polling station inside the metropolitan high school where he graduated.
After voting, he had a brief talk with international observers and election commission members. He was accompanied by his wife and two daughters who also cast their ballots there.
The CEC chief said about 1,400 international observers, including nearly 100 foreign media representatives, were expected to monitor the election.
The voting process was also being monitored by approximately 52,000 local observers, he said.
For the first time, a polling station had been created in Mecca specifically for Haj pilgrims. The estimated 3,700 Azerbaijanis currently in Mecca on the Haj pilgrimage or business would be able to vote there.
Web cameras were installed in 1,000 polling stations along with ramps for the disabled.
Aliyev is running against nine other candidates for the presidency.
The 52-year-old president had taken office in 2003 after the death of his father, Heydar Aliyev.