The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Honduras decided to keep polling stations open for an extra hour to accommodate voters still waiting to cast their votes to choose their President and legislators, media reported.

Opinions polls pointed to a close presidential race between the two main candidates - Conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez and Xiomara Castro, a report said.

Castro is the wife of ex-president Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in a coup in 2009.

In a nationally televised address, David Matamoros Batson, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, said that the large number of voters going to the polls led to the extension.

Around 5.3 million people of a total population of 8.4 million were registered to vote at some 16,000 polling stations that opened at 7 am. They were initially set to close at 4 pm. But they closed in Honduras at 5 pm on Sunday,

Earlier, the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research said that electoral observers noticed long lines at some polling stations.

Around 700 international observers monitored the elections, which promised a close race pitting Xiomara Castro de Zelaya of the Liberty and Refoundation Party against Juan Orlando Hernandez, the candidate of the ruling conservative National Party.

(Agencies)

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