South Africa voting ends, counting starts

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Raw: South Africans Vote; Ruling Party Favored

Raw: South Africans Vote; Ruling Party Favored

Raw: South Africans Vote; Ruling Party Favored

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Raw: South Africans Vote; Ruling Party Favored

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Polling stations have closed in South Africa's elections that are expected to see the ruling African National Congress return to power despite a vigorous challenge from opposition parties seeking to capitalize on discontent with corruption and economic inequality.

Voting in the fifth all-race polls in South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994 was wrapping up at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) Wednesday and South Africa's election commission says the first results are expected in the following hours. Officials will declare final results no earlier than Saturday, allowing time to address any objections to the process.

The election commission says most voting went smoothly.

About 25 million South Africans, roughly half the population, registered to vote in the parliamentary elections that will also determine the president.

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