Lawyer Melania Trump is considered the first female President of Slovenia

Lawyer Melania Trump is considered the first female President of Slovenia


Slovenians will vote on Sunday in a runoff election expected to choose the country’s first female president – a lawyer linked to former US first lady Melania Trump.

Natasa Pirc Musar, supported by the centre-left government, is taking on ex-Foreign Minister Anze Logar, a veteran of conservative politics, in the EU country of two million.

Attorney Pirc Musar was hired to protect the Slovenian-born Trump’s interests during her husband’s presidency and to prevent companies from commercializing products with her name.

She is expected to win just over 50 percent of the vote, ahead of Logar, who is between 44 and 49 percent according to the latest polls.

Pirc Musar, who headed the country’s data protection regulator for a decade, says her win would make her the “voice of women” in Slovenia and abroad.

Although the president’s role is largely ceremonial, the human rights lawyer has vowed to be a “moral authority”.

“The president can’t be neutral… and have no opinion… I’ve never been afraid to speak out,” the former TV host, 54, told AFP.

The passionate motorcyclist Pirc Musar has come under fire because of her husband’s lucrative investments – especially in tax havens.

Her opponent Logar, 44, also ran as an independent but is a long-time member of Janez Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), who failed to win re-election as prime minister in April.

– ‘More Balance’ –

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

Logar plays the cello and is an avid mountaineer who used to cycle to presidential debates.

“It’s good when the president takes a different view than the ruling coalition – (they) bring more balance… which is better for a democratic system,” Logar told AFP ahead of Sunday’s vote.

Newspaper columnist Uros Esih said Pirc Musar surrounded herself with “strong advisors” that enabled her to compete with the relatively more experienced Logar.

But Logar would be “rather a mere instrument” of Jansa’s party, Esih said.

Logar came first in the first round last month when the centre-left vote was largely split between Pirc Musar and another candidate.

Analysts say low turnout would favor Logar, but polls predict about half of eligible voters will vote as in the first round, putting Pirc Musar in the lead.

Polling stations in the former Yugoslav Republic open at 7:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) and close at 7:00 p.m., with partial results expected later the same day.

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

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