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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Philippines vote draws to a close
Soldiers guard ballot boxes ahead of voting
Soldiers have been guarding thousands of voting stations
Voting has ended in the Philippines mid-term elections, after a campaign marred by violence.

At least three people were killed on polling day, taking the death toll to more than 110 in the three-month election period.

The army was deployed in many areas amid fears that private militias and rebel groups would disrupt voting.

Millions turned out to choose members of parliament and local officials. The count is expected to take weeks.

In total, about 87,000 candidates were contesting nearly 18,000 positions.

As well as elections for the 275-seat parliament, about 45 million voters were choosing governors, provincial and municipal assemblies, local mayors and half of the senate's 24 seats.

Masbate is the third-poorest province in the country and during elections it is one of the most violent
Jonathan Head
BBC Correspondent

Polling stations opened at 0700 (2300 GMT Sunday) and closed at 1500 (0700 GMT) - with voter turnout predicted to be about 70%.

Opponents of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were hoping to gain enough parliamentary seats to restart a bid to impeach her.

They claim she cheated to win the presidency in May 2004.

But correspondents say they are unlikely to win enough seats.

Opinion polls suggest the coalition supporting President Arroyo is likely to retain control of the parliament, but the opposition may gain ground in the senate.

The president has already withstood two bids to impeach her and several coup attempts.

Political feuds

At least three people were reported killed as voting took place.

Two voters died in outbreaks of violence on Basilan island in the south of the country.

Campaign posters are hung in Manila - 10 May 2007
Thousands of seats are up for grabs in the election

And a village chief was shot dead in Bucay township in Abra province, Luzon.

In the same province, two policemen were killed on Sunday as they helped election officials carry ballot boxes in Lagayan township.

The BBC's Jonathan Head, reporting from the island of Masbate, said there had been a lack of big national issues in the election.

The campaign was dominated by local contests and long-standing violent feuds between political rivals, he said.

People in Masbate told our correspondent that vote buying was going on even as polling took place - and many people waited until late in the day to negotiate the price of their vote.

The army was deployed to help police control the private armies that are hired to intimidate rival candidates and voters, our correspondent added.

Planned offensive

Earlier, security officials had warned that the communist New People's Army was planning to disrupt voting by attacking military and civilian targets.

"This planned tactical offensive is the NPA's desperate attempt to undermine our democratic process," said national police's director general, Oscar Calderon.

Two soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in an ambush on a military convoy on Saturday in Mountain Province in Luzon.

A rebel spokesman quoted by Associated Press news agency said the attack was carried out to avenge alleged military killings of left-wing activists.

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