Slovenian President Pahor wins polls but heads for run-off

LJUBLJANA

Slovenian President Borut Pahor won Sunday’s first round of presidential elections but is heading for a run-off on November 12, partial results showed.

“It seems like a second round will be needed, as we had expected in the first place,” Pahor told journalists.

He added he believed he would win the next round, saying he will convince citizens he is “the best person to be the president for the following five years”.

Partial results with 99 per cent of the votes counted showed Pahor winning Sunday’s vote with 47.08 per cent support but having to face a run-off with Kamnik’s mayor Marjan Sarec, a former comic actor, who won a 24.95 percent of the vote.

Pahor’s victory fell well short of some predictions. A poll for state RTV Slovenija said he would win an outright victory in the first round with a 56.2 percent support.

GOVERNMENT COLLAPSED

Turnout was 43.47 per cent, the lowest at any presidential election since Slovenia declared independence in 1991, according to the partial results.

Pahor’s campaign has seen him walk 700 kilometres (435 miles) around the country chatting to voters while posting photos and videos to legions of followers on social media.

Pahor stepped down as prime minister in 2011 after his government collapsed in the midst of the global financial crisis that drove Slovenia close to needing a bailout.

But the following year he won a surprise victory in presidential elections, standing as an independent candidate backed by the Social Democrats (SD) party.

The president of the small former Yugoslav republic has a mostly ceremonial role although the holder can propose and appoint some state officials and heads the army in case of war.

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