The Slovenia Times

Pirc Musar's bid gets boost after Kos quits, poll shows


Ljubljana - Lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar has increased her lead in the presidential race after the ruling party's candidate Marta Kos pulled out, a poll run by the newspaper Delo on Saturday suggests. Pirc Musar gained five percentage points in a fortnight to 31% as Anže Logar, the former foreign minister, stayed at 23%.

The poll, conducted by Mediana between 31 august and 1 September among 506 respondents, does not suggest any other candidate except for the front-runner benefited from Kos's withdrawing from the race earlier this week. Kos polled at 14% to rank third in the August Delo poll.

As a result of her decision, the Freedom Movement will not run with its own candidate in the 23 October election, but it is likely to endorse some other candidate with Prime Minister Robert Golob saying he would like them to endorse the one who would "strengthen the democratic centre the most".

Pirc Musar, a former information commissioner, polled at 31.3% in the latest poll, up by 5.2 points, as Logar, an MP and long-term member of the opposition Democrats (SDS), garnered 23.3%, down 0.1 point.

Ivo Vajgl, a former foreign minister diplomat and MEP, polled at 3.8% this time, up 0.6 points.

Just yesterday, the non-parliamentary party Our Future, which is headed by Ivan Gale, the whistleblower who exposed alleged irregularities in emergency procurement in the early stages of the Covid pandemic, endorsed Vajgl for president. With the support of a party he will need to collect only 3,000 voter signatures to make his bid valid. As an independent he would need 5,000.

Gynaecologist Sabina Senčar, known for her opposition to Covid measures, polled at 3.1%, up 0.2 points, and Alojz Kovšca, the speaker of the upper chamber who is willing to stand only given broad enough support, mustered 2.5% in his first appearance in the poll. Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič got 2.3%.

In a run off, Pirc Musar would be backed by 43.3% of those questioned against 33.3% who would back Logar. Taking into account only decided respondents, Pirc Musar was backed by 56% and Logar by 44%.

Delo comments that such a result for Logar would match the best showing for the Slovenian right bloc in the presidential elections yet after prosecutor Barbara Brezigar won 43.48% of the vote in the 2002 run-off against Janez Drnovšek.

Delo writes that Logar would like to position himself as a cross-party candidate. His campaign headquarters have confirmed for the paper that he sold five shares in, the company running the broadcaster with the same name, whose shareholders include prominent SDS members.

Candidacies for the presidential election can be filed until 28 September. This Wednesday marks the deadline for campaign organisers to open a special account, which Delo writes will make it clearer which of the candidates announcing their bids will run in earnest and if any other potential contenders might come forward.


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