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Georgia elections: two former foreign ministers will go head to head

Georgia elections: two former foreign ministers will go head to head
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By Jez Fielder with AP
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Two of Georgia's former foreign ministers are celebrating after exit poll results on Sunday mark them as frontrunners in the country's presidential election.

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Two candidates have cause for celebration after exit poll results on Sunday sent them into a run-off in the country's presidential election.

Salome Zurabishvili and Grigol Vashadze are both former foreign ministers of the former Soviet republic on the Black Sea.

The ruling Georgian Dream party is backing 66-year-old Zurabishvili who was born to Georgian immigrant parents in France. The party identifies as centre-left but is widely considered to possess an inconsistent ideology.

Her main opponent, Grigol Vashadze, is running on behalf of a new platform of 11 opposition parties led by former President Mikheil Saakashvili's centre-right United National Movement.

An exit poll commissioned by the ruling Georgian Dream party puts Zurabishvili on top with more than half of the vote.

Zurabishvili was cautiously optimistic, calling the exit poll "convincing."

Meanwhile results from both Edison Research and BCG Research put the two much closer, with both showing results at around 40 percent each.

Opinion polls ahead of Sunday's election suggested that none of the 25 candidates is likely to receive the absolute majority needed for a first-round win.

The likely runoff between the top two candidates is to be held by December 1.

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