Voters are casting ballots for president in Malawi, where incumbent leader Joyce Banda is facing stiff challenges in the first democratic test of her rule.
President Banda rose to power two years ago when her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, suddenly died in office. At the time, she was serving as vice president.
She is facing 11 challengers in her bid to win a new term.
Her main challengers include Mutharika's brother, Peter, former cleric Lazarus Chakwera, and Atupele Muluzi, who is the son of former Malawian president Bakili Muluzi. All three of their parties have won the presidency before.
The election commission chairman, Justice Maxon Mbendera, told VOA's English to Africa service that the voting would be credible and transparent, despite some concerns about a new voters' list.
"They should have confidence that we are doing all we can to bring about an election that is credible, that is free and fair. And my plea to them is to come out in their large numbers to select and choose the leaders of their choice," said Mbendera. "This is an election, a mother of all elections in Malawi."
Some opposition and civil society groups said there were inaccuracies on the new voters' list that could undermine the credibility of the vote.
Voting was delayed by several hours Tuesday in some parts of Malawi, including in the commercial capital, Blantyre.
The ballot also includes elections for parliamentarians and local government officials.