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Slovenia: Natasa Pirc Musar elected first female president

November 13, 2022

Musar, a human rights lawyer linked to former US first lady Melania Trump, will become the country's first female head of state.

Slovenia's incoming president Natasa Pirc Musarat outside a polling station on November 13, 2022
The new president will replace Borut Pahor who has been active in politics for 30 yearsImage: Darko Bandic/AP Photo/picture alliance

Lawyer Natasa Pirc Musar won the second round of Slovenia's presidential election on Sunday and will become the country's first female head of state.

Pirc Musar won 54% of the votes, while her rival, right-wing politician and former Foreign Minister Andze Logar, won 46%, according to election commission data with almost all the votes counted.

Turnout was 49.9%, the commission said.

Pirc Musar had trailed Logar in the first round of voting two weeks ago. Her victory boosts the country's liberal bloc following the center-left coalition victory in Slovenia's parliamentary election in April.

She will succeed President Borut Pahor, a centrist politician who had already served two terms in office.

"My first task will be to open a dialogue among all Slovenians,'' the new president said.

Voters at a polling station during Slovenia's election on April 24, 2022
Turnout for Sunday's runoff was 49.9%, according to the election commissionImage: Milos Vujinovic/SOPA/ZUMA/picture alliance

Who is Natasa Pirc Musar?

Pirc Musar, 54, is a former TV presenter who became an influential lawyer. She campaigned on human rights, the rule of law and social welfare issues.

She also headed the country's data protection authority for a decade,

Pirc Musar had represented former US first lady Melania Trump in copyright and other cases in her native Slovenia.

The human rights advocate has vowed to be "the voice of women" in Slovenia and abroad and a "moral authority" in her new role.

While the presidency is largely ceremonial, the head of state still is seen as a person of authority.

Presidents nominate prime ministers and members of the constitutional court, who are then elected in parliament, and appoint members of the anti-corruption commission.

During the campaign, Pirc Musar, who is a keen motorcyclist, came under attack because of her husband's lucrative investments — especially in tax havens.

Setback for right-wing

The results mark a fresh setback for the country's conservatives.

Logar, 46, ran as an independent but is a long-time member of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of Janez Jansa, who failed in his bid to be re-elected as premier in April.

Critics accused Jansa of attacking media freedom and the judiciary and undermining the rule of law in his latest term in office.

Logar told AFP news agency ahead of Sunday's vote it would be "good" if the president represented "a different view than the ruling coalition — (it) provides more balance... which is better for a democratic system."

mm/wd (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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