|An Azerbaijani citizen registers at a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, on October 9, 2013. Voting of Azerbaijan's presidential election kicked off on Wednesday with incumbent President Ilham Aliyev expected to win a third term. (Xinhua/Tofik Babayev)
BAKU, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Voting kicked off in Azerbaijan's presidential election Wednesday with incumbent President Ilham Aliyev expected to win a third term.
Some 5,492 polling stations in 125 constituencies across the country opened at 8:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) and will close at 7:00 p.m. (1400 GMT).
About 5 million eligible voters will cast their ballots, according to Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Mazahir Panahov.
Aliyev cast his vote at No. 6 polling station inside the metropolitan high school where he graduated. After voting, he had a brief talk with international observers and election commission members.
He was accompanied by his wife and two daughters, who also cast their ballots there.
At the 17th polling station of the Yasamal region, security officers stood at the entrance but voting had been proceeding smoothly.
Farid Mamedli, a hotel manager said after voting he voted for Aliyev because "during the last decade with Aliyev's leadership, our life has been changed for the better, and I believe in him. We will have a good future."
Salah, a high-school teacher acting as a monitor in the polling station, said that everything was running well and there was an active voter turnout.
Panahov said voters who could not find their names on the voter list would still be able to vote by presenting their IDs. Their names would be added to a new list to ensure their voting rights.
The CEC chief said about 1,400 international observers, including nearly 100 foreign media representatives, were expected to monitor the election.
The voting process was also being monitored by approximately 52,000 local observers, of whom more than 6,000 were accredited by the CEC and the remaining 42,000 by the permanent election commissions, he said.
Panahov said important steps had been undertaken to educate election participants, and handbooks were distributed to policemen and observers.
For the first time, a polling station had been created specifically for Hajj pilgrims. The estimated 3,700 Azerbaijanis currently in Mecca on a Hajj pilgrimage or business would be able to vote there.
Web cameras were installed in 1,000 polling stations, along with ramps for the disabled.
Aliyev is running against nine other candidates for the presidency.
The 52-year-old president took office in 2003 after the death of his father, Heydar Aliyev.