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Mexicans vote in "historic" general elections
Last Updated: 2018-07-02 07:23 | Xinhua
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MEXICO-MEXICO CITY-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION-VOTE

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential candidate for the coalition "Together We Will Make History", is interviewed by media at a polling station during the presidential elections, in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on July 1, 2018. Mexican electoral authorities on Sunday gave the green light for the country to begin the largest presidential elections in its history, with over 89 million eligible voters. (Xinhua/Francisco Canedo)

Mexicans went to polling stations throughout the country on Sunday to begin the largest presidential elections in its history, with over 89 million eligible voters.

The opening of polling stations began at 8:00 a.m. local time (13:00 GMT), and is scheduled to close at 6:00 p.m. (23:00 GMT), although in some states this schedule will be one hour later due to daylight saving time (DST).

The National Electoral Institute (INE), the body responsible for organizing the elections, plans to give an advanced preview of the results at 11:00 p.m. local time (4:00 GMT), through its Preliminary Results Program.

The INE's president, Lorenzo Cordova, said that when his organization's activities begin, there will be "no room for fraud" in the elections.

Cordova explained that the installation of around 156,000 voting centers is expected, where 11 million Mexicans will act as election officials. The positions were chosen by lot to avoid the possibility of fraud, explained the INE president.

"They (the election officials) are the main guarantee of respect for the vote," he said, adding that 2.7 million representatives from participating parties will also be present at the polls.

Shortly after arriving at a polling station on Sunday morning in the south of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the presidential candidate for the coalition "Together We Will Make History," casted his vote and said that a quiet day is expected.

"It's a historic day, the people of Mexico will decide freely," said the candidate, also known as AMLO, who is competing for the third consecutive time in presidential elections.

"People are going to decide between more of the same or a real change," he added.

Current President Enrique Pena Nieto on Sunday said his government will respect the people's choice no matter what the outcome is.

"The president and his government will be highly respectful and will back the authorities that are elected on this election day," Pena Nieto told reporters after casting his vote at a local polling station in Mexico City.

In the central state of Queretaro, just north of Mexico City, presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya of the National Action Party (PAN) told the press, "we are going to win, I am convinced, it is going to be a historic day for our country."

To bolster his chances of winning, during the campaign, Anaya formed an unlikely coalition with the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), a move that alienated factions within both the PAN and the PRD.

Jose Antonio Meade, the candidate from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who was never able to make it out of third place in the polls, nevertheless sounded confident, telling reporters "I am absolutely sure that victory will be mine."

In fourth place of polls was independent candidate and former Nuevo Leon state governor Jaime "El Bronco" Rodriguez.

The general elections on Sunday is widely described by the candidates and local media as "historic."

Mexicans will elect the successor to President Enrique Pena Nieto, as well as 128 senators, 500 deputies, eight governors and the head of Mexico City's government, as well as local legislators and government officials.

It is also the first time that independent candidates not aligned with any political party have been allowed to run.

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