QUITO, Ecuador, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE) Sunday said that presidential and legislative elections were being held smoothly in the country, where 11.6 million Ecuadorians are called on to vote.
The voting began at 0700 local time (1200 GMT) and will end at 1700 (2200 GMT).
On Sunday morning, Ecuador's Vice President Lenin Moreno opened the electoral process together with CNE's authorities, calling the Ecuadorians to vote with enthusiasm.
"Today the people will elect the candidates who will lead the Fatherland's destiny for the next four years," said Moreno, who represented President Rafael Correa in the event. Correa declined to attend because he is a candidate.
There are eight candidates competing for the presidency, including Correa, who is favorite to be reelected in the election' s first round.
In general, the voting day began as planned, though CNE reported some delays in the delivery of electoral materials in some polling stations, especially in the coastal areas of the country due to the rainy season, said Domingo Paredes, CNE's president.
"The rainy season has been harsh and is affecting the country. That is why we have a plan B to relocate the polling stations in case of any stations being flooded," said Paredes.
Also, the CNE president said that they detected a hacking intent to their voting system.
The case was under investigation and the system was not affected because the software used is "highly secure," said Paredes.
However, he didn't give more details.
The Union of South American Nations (Unasur), invited as electoral observer, also stressed the normality of the election process.
"The 15 delegates deployed in 12 provinces report total normality, only some delays in some polling stations during the first few hours," said Colombian Maria Emma Mejia, Chief of Unasur 's observing mission.
Unasur is part of the 320 observers from nine international organizations from the continent as well as from Asia, Africa and the Arab countries.
Despite the stubborn rain in some towns, local media reported a normal flow of voters in more than 40,000 polling stations across the country.
Besides president, Ecuadorians will elect 137 members of the congress, including national and local lawmakers to renew the National Assembly.
Some 285,753 Ecuadorians will vote abroad in the country's consulates around the world.
According to Ecuador's Foreign Ministry, 67 percent of the overseas voters live in Europe, Asia and Oceania.
An alcohol ban has been in place since last Friday. Police reported that some 317 people have been found guilty for selling and consuming alcoholic beverages. The "dry law" will end on Monday.
President Rafael Correa, who seeks reelection for a third term, voted Sunday morning in a school in Quito, where he asked the people to "vote with a sense of responsibility."
"I hope our right to define our future will be a reason for joy, for a real democratic party and a national party," said Correa. He also called on the citizens to "watch over the process to ensure inclusive and transparent elections."
Previous polls all indicate that Correa will win in the first round with up to 68 percent of the votes, an obvious advantage ahead his immediate rival, former banker Guillermo Lasso, who is expected to get 20 percent of the votes.
The rest of the candidates have less than 6 percent according to the polls.
Ecuador's Armed Forces and National Police deployed 76,161 officials across the country to guarantee the security inside and outside the polling stations and so far there are no reports of any violence.