Some 61,000 polling stations across Algeria opened at 8:00 a.m. local time (0700GMT) Thursday for elections to choose a new president after the ouster of longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika eight months ago.

Over 25.5 million eligible voters will cast ballots until 7:00 p.m. (0600GMT), while almost one million expatriate voters started to vote last Saturday along with thousands of nomads who live in remote areas of the desert.

Voters are choosing between five candidates who are described as students of the former regime — because they were involved with Bouteflika’s reign — at a time when mass protests escalated

Read more: Algerians start voting in presidential polls