|Armenian incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan casts his ballot at a polling station during the Armenian presidential election in Yerevan, Feb. 18, 2013. A total of 2,505,980 voters are registered to vote at 1,988 polling stations, with 632 international and 6,251 local observers monitoring the process. (Xinhua/Wei Dafang)
YEREVAN, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Armenians went to polling stations on Monday in a presidential election where incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan looks set to win out.
A total of 2,505,980 voters are registered to vote at 1,988 polling stations, with 632 international and 6,251 local observers monitoring the process.
As of 5 p.m. local time, or nine hours into the balloting, which lasts 12 hours, the voter turnout rate was at 49.81 percent, according to the Armenian central electoral commission.
A Gallup survey conducted early this month forecast a voter turnout of 61 percent.
The turnout rate for the previous presidential election in 2008 was 69 percent. The turnout has to be over 50 percent for the election to be considered valid in Armenia.
Seven candidates, including Sargsyan, who leads the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, run for president. "I vote for the future of Armenia and proliferation of our citizens," said Sargsyan, whose popularity is running high among voters, according to a January Gallup poll.
Armenia's police chief commander Vladimir Gasparyan said the country's police were ready to secure the election process.
International observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States countries and other international organizations described the voting process as calm and normal, with no major irregularities being spotted so far.
Preliminary results are expected late Monday or early Tuesday, and the final results will be released on Feb. 25.
A run-off will be held in two weeks if none of the seven presidential candidates garners more than 50 percent of the vote on Monday.
Under the constitution, Armenian presidents are limited to two consecutive five-year terms.