Slovenia heads for runoff as Conservatives win first round

Slovenia heads for runoff as Conservatives win first round


Slovenia’s conservative candidate Anze Logar was headed for a first-round victory in Sunday’s tight presidential election but will face his centre-left rival in a run-off, partial results suggest.

The country’s Conservatives saw the vote as a chance to win back some support after their defeat in April’s general election.

But it was widely expected that no candidate would garner the 50 percent support needed for an overall win.

“The results have confirmed that our slogan ‘We work together for the future’ is welcomed by citizens,” said Logar, 46, in his first reaction to the partial results.

Voters in the small Alpine EU member of two million on Sunday chose from seven candidates running for the largely representative office.

A second round will now take place in November.

With 60 percent of the votes counted, Logar, a former foreign minister in the former Conservative government, received 33.75 percent of the vote.

His main rival, Slovenia’s former head of the data protection authority, the non-party centre-left candidate Natasa Pirc Musar, received 27 percent of the vote.

Liberal Prime Minister Robert Golob backed European Socialist MEP Milan Brglez and urged centre-left parties to unite behind one candidate.

55-year-old Brglez came third with 15.7 percent of the vote.

Golob told public broadcaster RTV Slovenija later on Sunday: “We will support Ms. Natasa Pirc Musar because we share their common values.”

Political newcomer Golob and his Freedom Movement party won more than a third of the vote in the April 24 elections after mass protests against the previous government’s repression of civil liberties by Janez Jansa.

Critics accused the three-time Prime Minister Jansa of attacking media freedom and the judiciary and undermining the rule of law during his last term in office.

During the campaign, Jansa did not publicly endorse Logar, who vowed to be a president who “brings people together” from all political persuasions.

“I presented myself and my ideas as they are: moderate, and my campaign will remain so,” Logar said minutes before Jansa arrived at his headquarters on Sunday evening to greet him.

Pirc Musar, who hoped to become Slovenia’s first woman president, faced fierce attacks during the election campaign over her husband’s lucrative businesses at home and abroad.

But the 54-year-old has garnered the support of independent Slovenia’s first president, reformed communist Milan Kucan, who said it was “time for a woman president”.

Incumbent Borut Pahor, a former Social Democrat, was unable to stand for re-election after holding office for two five-year terms.

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