South Africans started to go to voting stations on Wednesday to elect a new National Assembly and nine Provincial Legislatures. The National Assembly will then pick a new president, widely expected to be African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said about 23 million registered voters, including more than 16,000 overseas nationals, would cast ballots in another widely eyed elections in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Although the ANC is seen as almost certain to win, it has yet to face big challenges since coming to power.
The main issue is whether it can retain the two-thirds parliamentary majority it scored in the last polls in 2004, against the backdrop of criticism over its record on fight against crime, poverty and AIDS.