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Right-wing politician takes lead in Slovenia's presidential race

FILE PHOTO: Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar attends a press conference after bilateral talks at the Foreign Ministry, in Berlin, Germany, February 28, 2022. John Macdougall/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

A right-wing former foreign minister, Anze Logar, won most votes in the first round of Slovenia's presidential election on Sunday, preliminary results based on a partial vote count on the election commission web site showed.

Logar secured 34% of the vote while Natasa Pirc Musar, a lawyer, won 26.88%, based on around 80% of ballots cast, and they will face a run-off on November 13.

Although the role is mostly ceremonial, the president is commander in chief of the armed forces and also nominates several top officials, including the central bank governor. Most of those nominations also have to be confirmed by parliament.

The new president of Slovenia, a member of the European Union and NATO, will replace Borut Pahor, a former fashion model who served two terms and is often referred to in public as the Instagram president for his use of the social network.

Logar, 46, is a member of the eurosceptic, anti-immigrant Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of ex-prime minister Janez Jansa, who lost a parliamentary election in April to the environmentalist Freedom Movement of new Prime Minister Robert Golob.

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

Musar is vying to become the first female president of the small ex-Yugoslav republic.

"While the president’s role in Slovenia is largely ceremonial, the election result will reflect voter support for liberal pro-EU political forces in relation to populist eurosceptic parties," the Teneo consultancy said before the election.

(Reporting by Katja LihtenvalnerEditing by Ivana Sekularac, David Goodman and Gareth Jones)

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