Voters in the Republic of Congo are voting Sunday in the parliamentary and local elections expected to be won by the ruling party.
The polls opened at around 8 a.m. (0700GMT) and vote counting will start when polls close at 6 p.m. (1700GMT).
More than 2,000 candidates are running for 151 assembly seats in the poll, according to the country's directorate general of electoral affairs.
The country's leading opposition party, the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy, fielded 45 candidates, while UDH-YUKI, another opposition party, fronted 32 candidates, the directorate said.
With 101 lawmakers, the Congolese Labor Party of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled the country for 37 years, holds the majority of lawmakers in the assembly.
The councilors elected in Sunday’s election will in turn choose 72 senators in the first chamber of parliament.
At least 3,000 observers from national Non-Governmental Organizations, the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States are observing the elections.
As part of the elections, the government announced the closure of the borders until 6 p.m. local time.