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Polls open in Venezuela's presidential elections


09:13, April 15, 2013

CARACAS, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelans went to the polls Sunday to elect a new president to succeed Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer last month.

It is the second time in six months Venezuelans voted in a presidential election. Chavez was elected for another six-year term in October.

All Venezuelan citizens aged above 18 are eligible to vote, and there are about 18.9 million registered voters out of a total population of 28.8 million. Some 100,000 Venezuelans living abroad will be able to vote in their respective countries.

Some 39,322 ballot boxes were deployed at around 13,810 polling stations across the country. More than 3,000 national observers and 240 international observers will monitor the process.

The polling stations opened at 6 a.m. local time (1030 GMT) and will close at 6 p.m. (2230 GMT). The final results are expected later Sunday night.

Under Venezuela's constitution, a candidate who garners the largest number of votes wins the one-round voting. The president may serve consecutive six-year terms.

Opinion polls show that Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked successor, has a sizeable lead over challenger Henrique Capriles.

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