The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Electing President on Sunday



dull campaign turning increasingly negative in the past two weeks, with Türk most frequently at the receiving end. The attacks have centred on his record in office as well as alleged trespasses.

The president has had to defend himself from allegations that he failed to report a foreign bank account. It later turned out that he indeed had an account with an in-house bank of the UN, where he worked for a decade before becoming president.

Türk has now asked the Tax Administration whether his account with the United Nations Federal Credit Union, on which he has 111 dollars, falls within the scope of institutions that public office holders must report to the tax authorities.

He has also come under fire for pardoning a convicted drug dealer, but as it turned out he acted on a proposal by the justice minister. Moreover, the drug dealer appears to have had a bad accident after his conviction and is now severely disabled, unable to serve his sentence.

The Social Democratic (SD) candidate Pahor, meanwhile, has been mainly attacked on his record as prime minister between 2008 and 2011, which many deem makes him unfit for the highest elected office in the country.

To the surprise of many, he has freely acknowledged that he had made mistakes while in government, but the unexpected nature of the admission dovetails with his unconventional campaign, which consists of him volunteering and performing menial jobs for a day.

More broadly, both Pahor and Türk have been subject to criticism that they share the responsibility for the current situation Slovenia is in. The Assembly for the Republic, a right-wing outfit, even went as far as asking them to exit the race.

Milan Zver, who is running with the support of the coalition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi), was targeted with criticism that his policies are too closely aligned to those of the Janez Janša government.

Given the empty party coffers, the campaign was very low-key, with few of the posters and ads that are typically a constituent part of campaigns. Instead, the campaigning revolved around debates: there were a dozen live debates on TV and radio.

Aside from the scandals, it revolved around unity, with all three brandishing their credentials as candidates capable of uniting the nation in a difficult time.

Sunday's vote will be the first time that voters get to chose between just three candidates; there were seven in 2007, nine in 2002 and eight in 1997.

If Türk and Pahor make it to the second round, it will also be the first time since 1997 that voters will have a choice of two centre-left candidates in the run-off; in 2002 and 2007 centre-right candidates Barbara Brezigar and Lojze Peterle made it to the second round.

This probability creates a dilemma for the right. Pundits say the government would prefer to see Pahor winning, since he has demonstrated he can work with Janša, but it is unclear whether the SDS would endorse him outright and how many centre-right voters would be willing to vote for a left-wing candidate.

Polls will close at 7 PM on Sunday and results will start trickling in around 9 PM. A potential run-off is scheduled for 2 December.


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