Armenians started voting on Sunday in parliamentary elections amid a battle for supremacy between the governing party and its coalition partner, led by a wealthy former arm wrestling champion.
"We expect highly active participation," Armen Khazarian, head of the commission at one polling station in Yerevan, told AFP.
It is the biggest test of the ex-Soviet state's democratic credentials since disputed presidential elections in 2008, when mass rallies ended in clashes between riot police and opposition supporters that left 10 people dead.
The authorities in the impoverished country of 3.3 million people have promised an unprecedentedly clean contest for the 131-seat National Assembly in the hope of avoiding further political turmoil.
Opinion polls suggested that President Serzh Sarkisian's governing Republican party was ahead of its ally in the outgoing coalition -- the Prosperous Armenia party led by millionaire tycoon and former arm-wrestler Gagik Tsarukian -- with opposition parties trailing behind.
The campaign mainly focused on issues of unemployment, poverty and emigration rather than Armenia's long-running political disputes with neighbors Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Around 2.5 million people are eligible to vote in the elections that are being contested by eight parties and one bloc. Polls close at 8:00 pm local time (1600 GMT).
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