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Georgians start to cast votes in presidential election
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Georgians started to cast votes in the snap presidential election Saturday morning, during which former President Mikhail Saakashvili is vying for the nation's top job with six other candidates.


A polling station at a kindergarten on the Shanidze Street in downtown Tbilisi opened at 8 AM local time (0400 GMT) as scheduled, and voters are trickling in to cast ballots.


The early election was called by Saakashvili last November, who resigned the same month after serving as the Caucasian nation's president for nearly four years.


Some 3.3 million eligible voters of the 4.7 million population are expected to vote at more than 3,500 polling stations, including more than 40 polling stations abroad, according to the electoral authorities.


Opinion polls showed that Saakashvili and business tycoon Levan Gachechiladze are frontrunners among the seven candidates.


Saakashvili, who was predicted to gain more than 40-percent support, has to win 50 percent plus one vote to be re-elected. Otherwise, a run-off will be held between the top two candidates.


(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2008)

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