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Presidential election begins in Azerbaijan

October 09, 2013, 9:03 UTC+3

The voting will be held during 11 hours, until 19:00, local time

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Photo ITAR-TASS/AzerTAdj

Photo ITAR-TASS/AzerTAdj

BAKU, October 9 (Itar-Tass) - Polling stations for the presidential election have opened in Azerbaijan. The voting will be held during 11 hours, until 19:00, local time (14:00 GMT).

According to the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC), more than 5.1 million Azeri citizens will be able to take part in the voting. As many as 5,492 polling stations have been opened for them in 125 districts of the country, as well as at the country’s diplomatic missions abroad. A week before the election, Azerbaijani CEC Chairman Mazakhir Panakhov confirmed the readiness of all the polling stations for the vote. He guaranteed the transparency of the election and stressed that the CEC would try to minimize violations.

On Tuesday, “a day of silence” was declared in the country when the campaigning is prohibited by law. All the campaigning posters of the presidential candidates were removed from the streets.

At the polling stations the voters receive ballot papers with 10 candidates. They should put a mark at one of the names. A ballot paper is invalidated if no mark is made or several marks are made.

In accordance with the law of Azerbaijan, the election will be declared valid with any voter turnout. The candidate who receives more than half of the votes will be the winner.

The peak activity of the citizens is expected on Wednesday afternoon. However, the first voters have already started to come to polling stations in the centre of the city. There are also observers from the parties of the presidential candidates, representatives of local and foreign media, as well as observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations. Exit polls are conducted by experts of survey agencies that poll people at the exit from the polling stations.

The voting process will be available for viewers online - webcams have been installed at 1,000 polling stations.

The citizens’ security on the election day is ensured by numerous police officers. However, they should stay at a distance of at least 100 meters from the polls.

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