Slovenians elect president while Conservatives hope for a comeback

Slovenians elect president while Conservatives hope for a comeback


Slovenians will vote in a close presidential election on Sunday, which the country’s conservatives see as a chance to win back some support after their defeat in April’s general election.

Voters in the small Alpine EU member of two million people will choose from seven candidates running for the largely ceremonial post – but as no candidate is expected to garner the 50 per cent support needed for an outright victory, a second ballot is likely.

Anze Logar, foreign minister under the former conservative government of veteran Janez Jansa, is likely to be the leader with a predicted 30.1 percent of the vote.

Slovenia’s former head of the data protection authority, centre-left candidate Natasa Pirc Musar, 54, is expected to get around 20 percent of the vote, according to a poll published by the daily Delo on Friday.

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

The 55-year-old Brglez gets just over 17 percent of the votes.

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 crackdown on civil liberties led by 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 support 46-year-old Logar, who had promised to become president in order to “bring people together” from all political persuasions.

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

But she 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.

Polling stations in the former Yugoslav Republic opened at 7:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will close at 7:00 p.m., with partial results expected later in the evening.

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