South Korea votes in hotly-contested parliamentary poll
South Koreans are voting in a closely-contested parliamentary election seen as a key test for President Lee Myung-bak.
The ruling Saenuri party and the opposition Democratic United Party are neck and neck, analysts say.
While national security issues are a voter concern, domestic economic issues remain the top priority.
This is the first time in 20 years that the parliamentary and presidential polls have fallen in the same year.
The polls for the 300 parliamentary seats occur once every four years. Some 246 legislators will be directly elected by 40 million eligible voters, with the rest selected through proportional representation.
Early in the day Mr Lee cast his ballot at a polling station near the presidential office, accompanied by first lady Kim Yoon-ok and their granddaughter.
He greeted voters but did not make any comments on the poll, national news agency Yonhap reported.
Analysts quoted in South Korean media say that the National Assembly will likely be evenly split between the two rival parties.
Currently the conservative Saenuri (New Frontier Party) has 165 seats in the outgoing parliament, while the liberal opposition DUP has 89 seats.
Early in the race the DUP was tipped to win, with analysts citing Mr Lee’s unpopular pro-business policies as a reason.
But opposition mistakes involving its choice of candidates have resulted in a race too close to call, analysts say.
Pictured: The polls are seen as a test for President Lee Myung-bak