NAIROBI, March 4 (Xinhua) -- A total of 14.3 million Kenyan voters started casting their ballots Monday morning to choose the country's next president, the first after disputed presidential elections tally stirred up violence five years ago.
The polling stations opened at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) and will close at 5:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Monday. Voters will also elect 47 senators, 47 governors and other officials in the general election.
The election authority, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has set up 33,000 polling stations across the country and about 99,000 police officers have been deployed all over the country.
Eight candidates are competing for the presidency, with the top leading presidential candidates, Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD)'s Raila Odinga, and the candidate of Jubilee Alliance, Uhuru Kenyatta locked in a tight presidential contest.
The two leading candidates have publicly vowed that no repeat of fatal violence would happen. However, just hours before the polls opened,several policemen were reported to have been killed in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa in a attack by gunmen.
As a result of clauses in the new constitution which was passed on Aug. 5, 2010, it could also be the first presidential election in Kenya where presidential candidates face a second round run-off between the first and the second if no one achieves a simple majority in the first round and 25 percent of the votes in at least 24 counties.