Millions of Sri Lankans are voting in an unexpectedly close election that pits President Mahinda Rajapaksa against one of his former allies.
Mr Rajapaksa, in office since 2005, called the election two years early with analysts predicting an easy win.
But many voters have since rallied behind the challenger, former minister Maithripala Sirisena.
There are armed policemen at every polling station because of concerns the election will not be peaceful and free.
Mr Rajapaksa rode a wave of popularity after the civil war ended in 2009 but he now faces claims of cronyism.
His relatives fill many of the most powerful and influential positions in the country, and critics accuse him of running the state like a family
Analysts say Mr Sirisena appears to have capitalised on this perception, making gains among Sinhalese who usually vote for Mr Rajapaksa.
Mr Sirisena is also expected to win most of the vote from the ethnic minorities that make up about 30% of Sri Lanka’s population.
Source : BBC