CARACAS, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's 19 million registered voters, from a total population of 28.8 million, will choose on Sunday the country's president for a term from Jan. 10, 2013 to January 2019.
The following are key facts about the presidential election of the South American country.
All Venezuelan citizens over 18 years of age are eligible to vote. Some 99,000 Venezuelans residing abroad are also eligible to vote in their respective countries.
Some 39,322 ballot boxes have been deployed to around 13,810 polling stations, spread across 23 states and the capital Caracas.
Voting is scheduled to begin at 6:00 a.m. local time (1030 GMT) and end at 6:00 p.m. (2230 GMT). But the National Electoral Council (CNE) said the polling stations will not be closed Sunday until there are no more voters in a row, adding it will begin issuing preliminary results when they show an irreversible trend at about 9:00 p.m. (0130 GMT Monday).
The CNE also affirmed the elections would be transparent under the monitoring of national and international observers, including a mission from the Union of South American Nations. Some 139,000 soldiers and reservists have been deployed nationwide to protect voters and electoral officials.
The CNE has also designed a type of ballot box with horseshoe shape in order to keep vote casting as secret as possible. Digital thumbprint devices will be used to prevent multiple ballots, at polling stations in the most populous states and along Venezuela's borders, which together have around 40 percent of eligible voters.
According to Venezuela's constitution, there is only one round of voting and the one who garners the largest number of votes is the winner.
The president is elected for a six-year term and may serve consecutive terms. As both head of state and head of government, the president is vested with executive power.
There are six candidates competing for the presidency in the current election. Opinion polls showed incumbent President Hugo Chavez, seeking reelection after 13 years in power and representing the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, has a 10-point lead over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, representing the Coalition for Democratic Unity. No other candidate is within striking distance of a win.
Venezuela is the world's fifth largest oil exporter and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The nation has proven oil reserves of about 297.5 billion barrels and produces around 3 million barrels a day.