After months of opinion polling giving him enormous leads, the only question in yesterday’s Slovenian Presidential election was whether incumbent Borut Pahor would secure the 50 per cent of votes needed to win on the first round.
Up against a field of eight varied opponents, the former Prime Minister and long-time Social Democrat (running as an independent) was the comfortable winner – but he narrowly failed to pass the 50 per cent mark. This was contrary to most polling in September and October, which had anticipated a first round win. However those surveys had also picked up large numbers of undecided voters.
There will now be a run-off on 12 November, where Pahor will face another independent, Marjan Sarec, in a bid for a second term. Former actor and comedian Sarec, now Mayor of Kamnik, was soundly beaten into second place, but still did better than most of the final polls had suggested by obtaining 24.9 per cent of the votes.
The second largest party in Slovenia’s National Assembly, the opposition entre-right SDS, trailed a poor third, with its candidate Romana Tomc picking up just 13.7 per cent. This result was, however, glowing in comparison to the 1.7 per cent scored by Maja Makovev Brencic from the ruling SMC party of Prime Minister Miro Cerar.
Turnout slipped by nearly five percentage points to just 43.7 per cent, with Slovenes showing little interest in a race that had been portrayed as a foregone conclusion. The powers of the Presidency are largely ceremonial and turnout has been declining over successive elections. It remains to be seen if alternative candidate Sarec can inject some energy into the campaign for the second round during the next three weeks.
SLOVENIAN PRESIDENCY 22 October
First round. Five year term.
1. Borut Pahor (Independent) 349,971 or 47.10%
2. Marjan Sarec (Independent) 185,254 or 24.93%
3. Romana Tomc (SDS – Slovenian Democratic Party) 101,961 or 13.72%
4. Ljudmila Novak (NSi – New Slovenia) 53,238 or 7.17%
5. Andrej Sisko (United Slovenia Movement) 16,478 or 2.22%
6. Boris Popovic (Slovenia Forever) 13,316 or 1.79%
7. Maja Makovev Brencic (SMC – Modern Centre Party) 12,751 or 1.72%
8. Suzana Lara Krause (SLS – Slovenian People’s Party) 5,737 or 0.77%
9. Angela Likovic (ZaO – Voice for Children and Families) 4,296 or 0.58%
Eligible voters: 1,713, 762
Invalid votes: 5,388
Valid votes: 743,002
Turnout: 43.67 per cent (2012: 48.41%)
Source: Slovenian Election Commission. Full results here.
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