Voters in Venezuela are going to the polls in what is predicted to be the country's most tightly contested presidential election in a decade.
Left-wing incumbent Hugo Chavez, first elected in 1998, is being challenged by opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
Mr Chavez wants to continue what he calls his socialist revolution while Mr Capriles has promised to restore economic growth.
Almost 19 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote in the election.
Mr Chavez - who is seeking a fourth term in office - was diagnosed with cancer last year but says he has now fully recovered.
A colourful and often controversial figure on the international stage, President Chavez, 58, has nationalised key sectors of the economy.
Venezuela's presidential poll
- Polls open 06:00 (10:30 GMT)
- Polls close 18:00 (22:30 GMT)
- Automated touch-screen voting system
- Nearly 19 million registered voters; 100,000 overseas
- First result expected around 01:00 (05:30 GMT) on 8 October
- President elected for six-year term
National Electoral Council (CNE)
Venezuela is a major oil producer and high oil prices over the past decade have allowed his government to fund health-care, education programmes and social housing.
He says he needs another term to complete his "Bolivarian Revolution" towards socialism.
However, Mr Capriles, 40, and the opposition say the president's policies have led to bureaucracy, inefficiency and shortages.
They also accuse Mr Chavez of authoritarianism, and of suppressing the judiciary and silencing critics in the media.