Georgian PM's ally to become president - exit poll

TBILISI (REUTERS) - Georgy Margvelashvili, an ally of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, is on course to win a crushing victory in Georgia's presidential election, exit polls showed after voting ended on Sunday.

The exit polls suggested the 44-year-old member of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition would win more than two-thirds of the votes, easily enough to avoid a run-off in the former Soviet republic.

He will replace Mikheil Saakashvili, who was unable to seek a third term after ruling for a decade.

GfK, a leading European market research group, put Margvelashvili on 66.7 per cent of votes. ACT, a Georgian public opinion research group, put him on 68 per cent.