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Guatemalans start voting in presidential run-off


09:08, November 07, 2011

GUATEMALA CITY, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Guatemalans started streaming into polling stations Sunday morning to vote in their country's presidential run-off.

More than 2,500 polling stations across the Central American country opened their doors at 7 a.m. (1300 GMT) for the election, a follow-up to the first round in September.

Opinion polls are tipping a win for Patriota Party candidate Otto Perez Molina, who received 36.10 percent of the vote in the first-round election.

A victory for Molina would make the 60-year-old retired army general the first military man to rule since Guatemala's 36-year civil war ended in 1996.

His rival is Manuel Baldizon of the Renewed Democratic Liberty Party, who was second in the first round with 22.68 percent of the vote.

Under the Guatemalan constitution, if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the two front-runners will compete in a run-off.

All citizens over the age of 18, accounting for about half of the country's population of 14.7 million people, are eligible to vote.

The polls will close at 6 p.m. (0000 GMT Monday) and the first election results are expected to be released three hours later.

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