Incumbent President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the world's longest-standing president, is expected to extend his 43-year rule.

Equatorial Guinea has had only two presidents since its independence from Spain in 1968.
Equatorial Guinea has had only two presidents since its independence from Spain in 1968. (AFP)

The people of the tiny oil-producing Central African nation Equatorial Guinea have begun voting in elections for their president and representatives in both parliamentary chambers.

Over 400,000 people were registered to vote in Sunday's elections in the country of around 1.5 million. Voters are expected to cast their ballots between 0700-1700GMT (8 am and 6 pm local time).

The fate of the country is being decided among three political parties in the presence of observers from the African Union and a a delegation from the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries.

Incumbent President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, 80, is the candidate of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea. He has been in power since 1979 after a coup against his predecessor and uncle Francisco Macias Nguema.

Obiang, the longest-serving leader of the world, is vying for a sixth term against two opposition candidates — Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu, who is running for the sixth time against Obiang, and Andres Esono Ondo, who is running for the first time.

Voters will also cast ballots to elect 100 members of parliament for the lower house, 55 of the country's 70 senators, and local mayors.

READ MORE: Equatorial Guinea thwarts "coup" attempt against Obiang's rule

'Devoid of suspense'

Observers expect no surprises. The 80-year-old Obiang has always been elected with over 90 percent of votes in polls whose fairness international observers have questioned given longstanding complaints by rights groups over a lack of political freedom.

His competition Esono, 61, is from the Convergence for Social Democracy, the only opposition party that is not banned.

Monsuy, 63, is from the Social Democratic Coalition Party, allied with the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea in the legislative and municipal elections.

"The presidential election is completely devoid of suspense," said Maja Bovcon, a senior Africa analyst at risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft.

"The closure of the borders and the harassment and arrests of opposition supporters have been paving the way for the extension of Obiang's 43-year rule," she added.

The United States and the European Union called for a free and fair election in separate statements, and raised concerns over reports of harassments and intimidation of the opposition and civil society groups.

The government rejected the reports, calling them interference in its electoral process.

Oil and gas production accounts for around three-quarters of revenues in the OPEC member state. But output has dwindled in recent years to around 93,000 barrels per day (bpd), from around 160,000 bpd in 2015 due to maturing fields.

READ MORE: Presidential polls kick off in Equatorial Guinea

Source: TRTWorld and agencies