Slovenia’s more than 1.6 million eligible voters will be asked to return to the ballot boxes on December 2 2012 after, in a development that defied the forecasts of opinion polls, social democrat former prime minister Borut Pahor got the largest share of votes on November 11.
Ahead of the November 11 vote, pollsters had predicted a first-round victory for incumbent president Danilo Türk, although they said that Türk would not win sufficient votes to avoid a second-round deciding vote.
It is not the first time that Slovenian voters have turned in surprises, having done so in previous parliamentary and presidential elections.
Pahor, of the centre-left opposition social democrats, headed the government that was elected into office in 2008 but ousted at the end of December 2011 in elections that followed a referendum defeat.
Slovenia, which was a strong economic performer ahead of the global financial crisis, has been hard-hit by financial woes and has been at the centre of speculation that it would be the latest member of the euro zone to require a bailout.
Exit polls by various media put Pahor’s share of the November 11 vote at about 40 per cent, with Türk, standing as an independent but backed by the centre-left Positive Slovenia party, at about 36 per cent. The first round of voting eliminated the third candidate, MEP Milan Zver.
Local media quoted Türk as issuing a reminder that in 2007, he also had come second in the first round of the presidential elections, to win at the second round.
The presidential elections areSlovenia’s fifth since it left the formerYugoslaviain 1991.
(Photo of Pahor: Richter-Frank Jurgen)