Natasa Pirc Musar may become the first woman to serve as president since Slovenia became independent as analysts predict centrist and liberal voters will rally behind the liberal candidate.

Liberal candidate Natasa Pirc Musarat addresses the media after voting, outside a polling station in Radomlje near Ljubljana.
Liberal candidate Natasa Pirc Musarat addresses the media after voting, outside a polling station in Radomlje near Ljubljana. (Darko Bandic / AP)

Slovenians have been voting in a presidential election runoff, with former TV presenter Natasa Pirc Musar hoping to beat right-wing politician Andze Logar and become the country's first woman president.

Sunday's results may well see the small European Union country elect the first female head of state, even though the position is largely ceremonial. The election also represents a test for the country's new liberal government.

Liberal candidate Pirc Musar was leading in the pre-election polls against conservative Logar, although she trailed the former foreign minister in the first round of voting two weeks ago.

Since none of the seven contenders who competed in the first round managed to gather more than 50 percent of the ballots and claim outright victory, Logar and Pirc Musar went forward to a runoff.

Analysts in Slovenia have predicted centrist and liberal voters would rally behind Pirc Musar.

Some 1.7 million people are eligible to vote. Polls close at 7 pm local time (1800 GMT). Official results are expected a few hours later.

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Musar vs Logar

Casting her vote in a village on the outskirts of Ljubljana, the capital, Pirc Musar urged people to go to the polls and said she would be home with family until the results are announced.

The winner will succeed President Borut Pahor, a centrist politician who sought to bridge Slovenia’s deep left-right political divide during his decade in office. Having served two five-year terms, Pahor was ineligible to seek a third.

While the presidency is largely ceremonial in Slovenia, the head of state still is seen as a person of authority in the Alpine country of two million people. 

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

As a prominent lawyer and rights advocate, Pirc Musar had represented former US first lady Melania Trump over copyright and other cases in her native Slovenia. 

Musar, 54, has been targeted by opponents mostly for her husband’s sprawling business empire and alleged tax evasion matters.

Her rival, Logar served under former Prime Minister Janez Jansa.

Logar, 46, has faced criticism that he is hardly an independent candidate as he is declaring to be, given his previous and current roles in Jansa’s conservative SDS party.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies