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Voting for New Zealand general elections begin

Wellington: Voting for New Zealand's general elections started Saturday.

Polling stations across the country opened at 9 a.m., Xinhua reported.

According to the Electoral Commission, almost 3.1 million people has been registered to vote and 557,174 people have already cast advance votes.

Polling stations will close at 7 p.m., when counting of the ballots begin.

New Zealand has a mixed member-proportional representation system for electing each parliament, which sits for a maximum three-year term.

Each voter gets two votes: one for an electorate representative and one for their preferred party.

Parliament has 120 seats: 71 electorate seats, including seven Maori electorates; and the rest are list seats allocated to each party according to the proportion of the party vote they won.

Fifteen parties and a total of 554 candidates are contesting this election.

On Friday, the ruling National Party of Prime Minister John Key was on 46.4 percent, enough for him to get back into office.

The main opposition Labour Party, led by David Cunliffe, was sitting on 25.7 percent and its prospective Green Party allies on 12.5 percent.

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