People in Zimbabwe are heading to the polls to elect the African country’s new president in a contested election dominated by incumbent President Robert Mugabe.
The election began at 07:00 (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday and will close at 19:00 (17:00 GMT).
Some 6.4 million people, or half the population, are eligible to cast their ballots at 9,670 polling stations across the African country.
The results will be announced within five days, and if no candidate receives over 50 percent of the votes, a runoff will be held – most likely in September.
Eighty nine-year-old Mugabe is running for a seventh term, seeking to extend his 33-year rule.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, 61, is facing Mugabe for the third time. The former trade union leader has vowed to push Mugabe into retirement after more than three decades in power.
Meanwhile, in a press conference in Harare on Tuesday, Mugabe said he would step down if he lost.
“If you go into a process and join a competition where there are only two outcomes, win or lose, you can’t be both. You either win or lose. If you lose, you must surrender,” Mugabe said.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change accused Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party of seeking to doctor the electoral roll. The Zanu-PF has denied the claim.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been sharing power since 2009, following a deal brokered by a regional bloc to end the unrest sparked after 2008 election.
Violence broke out in the last presidential election in 2008, forcing Tsvangirai out of the race despite a first round win after 200 of his supporters were killed in the unrest.
A spokesman for Tsvangirai’s party said it would accept the election results only if the poll is “free and fair.”
Both sides have predicted landslide victories.
Three other candidates also stand for president, with people also voting for new members of parliament.