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Slovenia on Sunday chose as president a renowned lawyer, a novice in politics. Clearly distancing his rival, the conservative Anze Logar – according to the partial results – Natasa Pirc Musar, of center left, becomes the first woman to take the head of the country.
Natasa Pirc Musar became the first female President of the Republic in Slovenia on Sunday November 13. This former centre-left media lawyer received 54% of voting intentions, according to a count covering more than half of the ballots counted. His rival, the conservative Anze Logar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had nevertheless won the first round on October 23, is clearly outdistanced: he obtains less than 46% of the vote.
In a country divided after the protest-strewn term of ex-Prime Minister Janez Jansa, Natasa Pirc Musar called for “uniting” and turning the page on “disputes”. “My first action will be to invite all the leaders of the political parties to the presidential palace,” she declared Sunday evening in front of hundreds of supporters gathered around the capital Ljubljana.
Slovenes turned out in relatively large numbers at the polls, in this country of two million inhabitants, from the former Yugoslavia and member of the European Union (EU) since 2004.
“The voice of women”
During the campaign, the candidate, who defines herself as “liberal”, put forward her desire to give more substance to this essentially ceremonial post of president. “The president cannot be neutral, he must have an opinion”, be “a moral authority”, she underlined in the interval between the two rounds, questioned by AFP. “I have never been afraid to make my voice heard.”
The outgoing head of state, Borut Pahor, who could not stand for re-election after two terms of five years each, has often been criticized for his passive attitude towards the head of government Janez Jansa.
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A former television presenter, Natasa Pirc Musar made a name for herself by directing the Slovenian Data Protection Authority in the 2000s. A tireless defender of the political class, she opened her law firm in 2016, regularly scouring TV sets as an expert. She has also, in the past, represented the interests of the former American First Lady Melania Trump, of Slovenian origin.
Passionate about motorcycles, she has been the target of attacks because of her husband’s lucrative investment activities, especially in tax havens.
Even with the support of Liberal Prime Minister Robert Golob, Natasa Pirc Musar said on Sunday that he had experienced “a more difficult campaign” than his rivals, “without the support of an established party”. “I was called a careerist, you would never say that of a man,” she lambasted, wanting to be “the voice of women” in Slovenia and abroad.
Failure of conservatives
This partial result of the second round of the presidential election is a new setback for the conservatives who dreamed of revenge after their heavy defeat in the April legislative elections.
To win, Anze Logar, one of the main tenors of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of Janez Jansa, had nevertheless taken care to keep his distance, with the exception of a brief appearance by his side on the evening of the first round.
Without a label, unifying slogan and “moderate” campaign: the courteous candidate, who never leaves his bike, had promised to be “the president of all citizens”, far from radical positions against the media and government justice Jansa – which he was part of from 2020 to 2022.
A campaign that seemed to have paid off: the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Anze Logar was however given the lead in the first round of the presidential election, Sunday, October 23… but the victory was obviously not acquired.