Chileans voted Wednesday on whether to give Gen. Augusto Pinochet another eight years as president in a plebiscite marked by threats of violence and power blackouts.

Voters streamed to polling stations, which were to be open for nine hours around the country, to decide whether to extend Pinochet's rule or call for an open election in 1989.Pinochet, 72, who came to power 15 years ago in the coup in which Socialist President Salvador Allende was killed, is the only candidate in the election in the South American nation of 12.5 million.

Pinochet voted about 11 a.m., holding up an ink-stained thumb to photographers. Election officials require every voter to leave a thumb print to prevent fraud.

Both the opposition and Pinochet supporters forecast victory but diplomats said they believed polls showing Pinochet's rule could be rejected.