Slove­nia’s Pres­i­dent Wins Sec­ond Term


LJUBLJANA (Dis­patches) - Slove­nian Pres­i­dent Borut Pa­hor was re-elected for a sec­ond term in a runoff vote on Sun­day, beat­ing his chal­lenger in a tight race.

Pa­hor had won about 53 per­cent of the vote, with 99.9 per­cent of the votes counted, ac­cord­ing to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, while his op­po­nent, ex-co­me­dian Mar­jan Sarec, had 47 per­cent. Turnout was about 42 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary fig­ures, the low­est for a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion since Slove­nia be­came an in­de­pen­dent coun­try in 1991.

“I will be the pres­i­dent of all (Slove­ni­ans), I will con­nect peo­ple, build upon the things we have in com­mon,” Pa­hor told re­porters af­ter se­cur­ing an­other five-year man­date. He had said that he would fo­cus on co­op­er­a­tion, po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity. Al­though the role of the pres­i­dent is mainly cer­e­mo­nial, the pres­i­dent leads the army and also nom­i­nates sev­eral top of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing the cen­tral bank gov­er­nor. Most of his nom­i­na­tions have to be con­firmed by par­lia­ment.

Pa­hor, 54, was forced into a sec­ond-round run-off af­ter fall­ing short of se­cur­ing a ma­jor­ity in the first round last month.Sarec, who is mayor of the north­ern town of Kam­nik and rep­re­sents a party that does not even have seats in par­lia­ment, said he was en­cour­aged by the close re­sult even though he lost. How­ever, he re­fused to say whether his party would run in a gen­eral elec­tion ex­pected in June next year.

“This is a very good re­sult re­gard­less of the fi­nal out­come ... and shows that the time for a gen­er­a­tion change has ar­rived,” he told TV Slove­nia.

“To­mor­row is a new day and then we will see how to pro­ceed,” he said when asked whether his party would run in the gen­eral elec­tion. In the first round three weeks ago, Pa­hor won about 47 per­cent of the vote among nine can­di­dates, with Sarec com­ing in sec­ond with al­most 25 per­cent. Pa­hor was a long-serv­ing leader of the cen­tre-left So­cial Democrats but ran for pres­i­dent both times as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date. He was Slove­nian prime min­is­ter from 2008 to 2012, the run-up to the worst fi­nan­cial cri­sis in Slove­nia’s his­tory.

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