Madagascar is holding a long-delayed presidential election on Friday, a step seen as crucial to restoring democratic rule following a 2009 coup.
Thirty-three candidates are vying to become president. None is expected to receive enough votes to avoid a December runoff election.
Coup-leader Andry Rajoelina and the man he ousted, Marc Ravalomanana, have been barred from running, leaving no clear favorites.
Rajoelina took over as transitional leader in 2009 has but failed to follow through on his promise to hold elections within two years.
The coup is widely considered to have sent the already impoverished African island nation of 22 million people into an economic crisis.
Madagascar is now one of the least developed countries in the world. The World Bank says 92 percent of its citizens live below the poverty level.
Thousands of observers, including some foreigners, are closely watching Friday's vote amid worries about the government's capability to handle the election.
There are also worries about whether all the candidates will accept the results of the election.
If no single candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held on December 20, along with parliamentary elections.
Results are expected to begin coming in by late Friday.