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Yemeni presidential election turnout stands at 80 percent: official

(Xinhua)

08:36, February 22, 2012

SANAA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- About 80 percent of Yemeni registered voters cast their ballots in the presidential election, the Supermen Committee for Elections and Referendum (SCER) said on Tuesday night, after polling stations closed at 06:00 p.m. (1500 GMT).

"Initial reports show that about 80 percent of the registered voters cast their ballots today," Saiba al-Hajji, spokesman of the SCER, told reporters.

"The votes took place at about 29,200 polling stations across the country, while nine voting stations in southern provinces of Lahj, al-Dhalee and Abyan were inoperative," he said.

According to the Yemeni elections law, official voting results are to be announced within 10 days after the election.

Yemenis headed early on Tuesday to the polling stations under tight security to vote for Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the successor of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The 66-year-old vice president, the sole candidate for the election, is expected to lead the country for the two-year interim period in accordance to a Gulf-brokered power transfer deal, which was signed by Saleh and the opposition in November 2011 in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Saleh, who is currently in New York for further medical treatment, became the fourth Arab leader forced out of power by mass anti-government protests.

However, Saleh who ruled Yemen for 33 years had engaged in one- year-long negotiations with the oppositions. Their talks led to a political settlement backed by the UN Security Council. Under the deal, the president was also granted immunity from prosecution.

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