Voters have begun casting their ballots for president in the West African nation of Togo, a country that has been ruled by the same family for nearly 50 years.

President Faure Gnassingbe cast his ballot in the capital, Lome, on Saturday morning. Gnassingbe's father ruled Togo for 38 years before dying of a heart attack in 2005. The son assumed power and later that year won an election, widely viewed as violent and flawed. He won another election in 2010.

Last year lawmakers considered a bill that would have limited presidents to two terms but it did not pass.

About 500 international observers will oversee voting at more than 4,000 polling stations. Some 3.5 million people have registered to vote, representing about half of Togo's population of 6.8 million.