The Slovenia Times

Ex-PM Pahor Looks to Take Presidency from Incumbent Türk



Pahor was the surprise winner of the first round of the election on 11 November, garnering 40% of the vote, while Türk only won 36% despite being favoured by opinion polls.

Public opinion surveys show that Pahor has extended his lead so that he is projected to win between 60% and 70% of the vote as he is expected to get support also from the right-leaning electorate.

This is the first time ever that Slovenians will choose between two left-leaning candidates in the run-off for president, a largely ceremonial role, after conservative MEP Milan Zver was eliminated in the first round with 24% of the vote.

Pahor, standing for the opposition Social Democrats (SD) and with the endorsement of the centrist coalition Citizens' List (DL), is seen as more centrist candidate than Türk, who has been endorsed by the opposition Positive Slovenia (PS) and coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), along with several leftist groups.

If the campaign ahead of the first round focused on the economic turmoil and the government's response to it, debate now turned to the ostensible "godfathers" influencing Slovenian politics from behind the scenes.

The debate was sparked by Slovenia's first President Milan Kučan, who urged Pahor to come clean about his statement that the godfathers helped bring down his government in 2011.

Pahor failed to specify, but many, especially right-leaning commentators, who believe Kučan to be one of the godfathers concerned, saw his call as the last ditch attempt to prevent Türk's defeat.

Meanwhile, Pahor continued to volunteer at various jobs, his substitute for a campaign trail, which he says he plans to continue to do as president.

The final part of the campaign was overshadowed by protest rallies that began in Maribor as an expression of discontent with the allegedly corrupt mayor, but then spread to other parts of the country.

Defence Minister Aleš Hojs said the protests, which turned violent, were caused by the "desire of certain individuals to cause disturbance ahead of [Sunday's] presidential elections".

Campaigning will end Friday midnight when election blackout takes effect. All political propaganda in favour of one or the other candidate will be banned until after the closure of the polls on Sunday.

A good 1.7 million eligible voters will be able to cast ballots at more than 3,300 polling stations across the country between 7 AM and 7 PM on Sunday.

There will be no exit polls this time around. The results of early vote will be released shortly after 7 PM, while first results indicative of the final outcome should be out by 8:30 PM.

The ballots sent in by mail from Slovenia will be counted on Monday and the vote by mail from abroad will be added on 10 December.

The president-elect will take over after being sworn in in the National Assembly.

Slovenia has had three presidents so far. Only Milan Kučan won sufficient majority in 1992 and 1997 to avoid a run-off. He is also the only to serve the limit of two consecutive five-years terms allowed by law.

Türk came second in the first round of the 2007 election to defeat Lojze Peterle in the run-off, while the late Janez Drnovšek won the second round in 2002 against Barbara Brezigar.

The first round of this year's election saw the lowest number of candidates ever as well as a record low turnout of 48.25%.


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