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Slovenians elect president with no clear winner in sight

Ljubljana – Slovenian voters on Sunday took to the polls to elect a new president for the European Union, with three leading candidates leading the race, but no clear winner in sight.

Although Slovenia mostly hosts presidential inauguration ceremonies, Sunday’s vote is still seen as a test of liberal governments amid a crisis fueled by the war in Ukraine.

Populist opposition politicians have led the pre-election polls, but no candidate appears poised to win more than half of the vote. It means that the election ballot is likely to take place within three weeks.

Opinion polls show right-wing former Foreign Minister Anze Roger at 30%, followed by centrist independent Natasa Piruk Musar at around 20% and government-backed Social Democrat Milan Burglez at 17%.

Three have emerged as the frontrunners among the seven candidates. Analysts say he expects Logar to advance to the runoff vote, but that his opponent could be either Pirc Musar or Brglez, who could be close to each other.

Slovenia’s 1.7 million voters will eventually choose the successor to incumbent Borut Pahor. He served two of his five-year terms, and was barred from running for a third term.

During his tenure, Pahor sought to bridge the left-right divide in Slovenia, a source of political tension in the traditionally moderate and stable country of two million people.

Having served under right-wing Prime Minister Yanes Jansa, Logar is trying to shake off his populist image and establish himself as a uniter.Logar’s victory ousted Jansa from power six months ago. It would be a blow to the current liberal government.

Middle voters are expected to rally in the runoff no matter who emerges as Logar’s opponent. Left-wing, liberal-leaning Slovenians see Jansa as undemocratic and divisive.

Dziga Jelenek, a resident of the capital Ljubljana, said the election was likely to show “how divided our society is”.

If Pirk Musar wins, she will become Slovenia’s first female president since independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

Member of the European Parliament, Burglez entered the race late in the campaign after the first government favorite declined, citing personal reasons.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.ksat.com/news/world/2022/10/23/slovenians-choose-president-with-no-clear-winner-in-sight/ Slovenians elect president with no clear winner in sight

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