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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
In pictures: Malawi goes to the polls
People queue to vote in Malawi's presidential polls
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In some areas, Malawians starting queuing up an hour before the polling stations were expected to open. Election officials said turnout was high in the early hours and free of violence.
People queue to vote in Malawi's presidential polls
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But voting was delayed in some polling stations when ballot papers were sent to the wrong place, causing queues of up to 500 people.
United Democratic Front UDF presidential candidate, Bingu wa Mutharika, joins the queue to casts his vote
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Presidential candidate, Bingu wa Mutharika, was also forced to wait his turn. Mr Mutharika is the favourite to win the election.
United Democratic Front UDF presidential candidate, Bingu wa Mutharika casts his vote
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"It's really encouraging that people have turned up in large numbers", he said after casting his vote at his home village of Kamoto, 50km east of the capital Blantyre.
National Democratic Alliance presidential candidate, Brown Mpinganjira, talks to the media after casts his vote
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But another candidate, Brown Mpinganjira, focused on reports of electoral misconduct. "These types of mistakes reflect badly on our young democracy," he said.
Workers for the Malawi Electoral Commission prepare the centre for tallying the electoral results
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The polls are scheduled to close at 1600 gmt but voting may be extended due to the delays. Final results are not expected before Saturday.

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