Slovenian voters elected the first female president of the country, independent candidate Natasa Pirc Musar, in the second round of the presidential elections on November 13. Pirc Musar defeated the rightwing politician and former foreign minister Anze Logar.
The results of the state election commission showed that after 98.3% of the votes were counted, Pirc Musar won 54% of the votes versus 46% for Logar. The turnout was around 52.6%.
Pirc Musar will replace Borut Pahor, who served two five-year mandates as president. The role of the president in Slovenia is mostly ceremonial, but the head of the state is commander-in-chief of the army and also nominates top judiciary officials, as well as the central bank governor.
"I'm really, thank you once again to all voters for voting for me," Natasa Pirc Musar was cited by broadcaster RTV Slovenia after the partial results were announced.
In the first round on October 23, 46-year-old economist Logar gathered the largest share of the votes (34%) and Pirc Musar also qualified for the second round with 26.9% of the votes. Logar is a member of the opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by former PM Janez Jansa, but entered the race as an independent candidate.
In the second round, Pirc Musar was supported by the ruling parties led by PM Robert Golob's Freedom Movement.
Pirc Musar is a 54-year-old lawyer, former journalist and TV presenter, and ex-president of Slovenia’s Red Cross. Her law firm Pirc Musar & Lemut Strle represented former US first lady Melania Trump, during her husband's US presidency.
On election day, Pirc Musar praised her team. “I am proud of my staff, all the volunteers, and a little bit of myself, of course. I am satisfied, thank you all very much. I look forward to new challenges,” Musar said in a tweet.
Pirc Musar announced her candidacy in June 2022. She entered the presidential race saying she believed that her experience, knowledge and activities in public life would serve the state's interests. She said she will not be silent about irregularities.
Pirc Musar highlighted the topics of human rights, the fight against the poverty, giving opportunities to young people and respecting the elderly.
She is married to businessman Ales Musar and has one son.
Outgoing President Pahor said that he was looking forward to working with his successor. Golob also announced that he will meet with the newly elected president before she or he takes office.
Nearly 1.7mn voters were eligible to cast a vote, of which 107,107 have permanent residence abroad. More than 3,000 polling stations were open between 7am and 7pm in the second round.
The mandate of the new president will begin on December 23, but Pirc Musar is expected to be sworn in before the National Assembly before that date.