A total of six parties are contesting the first round of voting to choose 57 members.
A party needs to win 12.5 per cent of the votes to make it to the second round in two weeks the party coming first is almost certain to have an absolute majority because of the electoral system giving the winner a third of the seats as a bonus.
The three parties in the last assembly, the Tapura, Tahoera and Tavini, are front-runners and widely expected to make it.
Three other parties have only been formed in the lead-up to the polls and may struggle. Preliminary results were expected late last night. - RNZI