Right-wing politician expected to take lead in Slovenia’s presidential election

LJUBLJANA, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Polls opened in the Slovenian presidential election on Sunday with former foreign minister in the rightist government, Anze Logar, expected to lead the seven candidates after the first round of voting.

Opinion polls suggest that no candidate will win the more than 50% of the votes that would secure victory after the first round. The two candidates who win most votes will face run-off in two weeks.

Polling stations close at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) and first results are expected about two hours later.

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Although the role is mostly ceremonial, the president leads the army and also nominates several top officials, including the central bank governor. Most of the nominations have to be confirmed by parliament.

The EU and NATO member state’s new president will replace Borut Pahor, a former fashion model who served two terms and is often referred in public as the Instagram president for his use of the social network.

The latest opinion polls by television station Pop TV suggest Logar will win the first round with 26.9% of the votes, followed by lawyer Natasa Pirc Musar with 19% and ruling coalition candidate Milan Brglez on 12.9%.

Logar, 46, is a member of the right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who lost April’s general election to the environmentalist Freedom Movement of new Prime Minister Robert Golob.

Pirc Musar, a 54-year-old former TV presenter who is now an influential lawyer, campaigned on human rights, the rule of law and social welfare issues.

Musar is vying to become the first female president of the ex-Yugoslav republic.

“While the president’s role in Slovenia is largely ceremonial, the election result will reflect voter support for liberal pro-EU political forces in relation to populist eurosceptic parties,” the Teneo consultancy said before the election.

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Reporting by Katja Lihtenvalner
Editing by Ivana Sekularac and David Goodman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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