Voting began at 7 a.m at 19,009 polling stations throughout Cambodia on July 28 morning in the country’s fifth general election, with more than 9.6 million Cambodians expected to cast their ballots, according to the National Election Committee (NEC).

Eight political parties are competing for 123 seats in the parliament, with the three major parties in the contest being the ruling Cambodian People's Party, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the royalist Funcinpec.

The NEV said CPP’s leader Hun Sen cast his ballot at a polling station near his residence in Kandal province, about 10 km south of Phnom Penh, while Funcinpec’s President Princess Norodom Arun Reasmey voted in Kongpong Cham province. The CNRP President, Sam Rainsy, was ineligible to vote.

The elections, which closed at 3 p.m the same day, were monitored by about 40,676 observers including 40,433 national and 243 international observers from 29 countries and organisations, the NEC said.

Experts said the rate of turnout could be about 80 percent. Hun Sen's party is widely expected to win the majority vote in the elections.

Cambodia holds a general election every five years. In the last election in July 2008, Hun Sen's party won 90 seats out of the 123 seats in the National Assembly, the Sam Rainsy Party gained 26 seats, the Human Rights Party got 3 seats and the royalist group won 2 seats. The Sam Rainsy Party in 2012 merged with the Human Rights Party into the Cambodian National Rescue Party.-VNA