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Slovenians vote for president as conservatives hope for comeback

#Slovenians #vote #president #conservatives #hope #comeback

Slovenians vote on Sunday in close presidential elections seen as a chance by the country’s conservatives to regain some support after their defeat in April parliamentary elections.

Electors in the small Alpine EU member of two million people will choose from seven candidates standing for the largely ceremonial post — but with no candidate expected to clinch the 50 percent support needed for an outright victory, a second round of voting looks likely.

The frontrunner, with a forecast 30.1 percent of the vote, is expected to be Anze Logar, a foreign minister under the former conservative government of veteran Janez Jansa. 

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

Liberal Prime Minister Robert Golob has backed European Social Democrats parliament member, Milan Brglez, and called for the centre-left parties to unify behind one candidate.

The 55-year-old Brglez is tipped to get just over 17 percent of the vote.

Political newcomer Golob and his Freedom Movement party won more than a third of votes in the April 24 election after mass protests over a crackdown on civil liberties by the previous government, led by Jansa.

Critics accused three-time premier Jansa of attacking media freedom and the judiciary and undermining the rule of law in his latest term in office.

During the campaign Jansa did not publicly support the 46-year-old Logar, who pledged to be a president for “bringing together” people from all political sides.

Pirc Musar, hoping to become Slovenia’s first woman president, had to face strong attacks over her husband’s lucrative businesses at home and abroad during the pre-electoral campaign.

But she has received the backing of independent Slovenia’s first president, reformed communist Milan Kucan, who said it was “time for a female president”.

Incumbent Borut Pahor, a former Social Democrat, could not run for re-election after having held the post for two five-year mandates. 

Polls opened in the former Yugoslav republic at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) and will close at 7:00 pm, with partial results expected later in the evening.

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#Slovenians #vote #president #conservatives #hope #comeback

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