Slovenia to hold a presidential election on Oct. 23

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia will hold a presidential election on Oct. 23 to choose a successor to centrist President Borut Pahor, who has been in office for 10 years, authorities said Wednesday.

If no candidate wins more than half of the ballots in the first round, a runoff between the top two will be held three weeks later.

Already, several people have said they would run for the presidency, including two female contenders who have been polling strongly — independent lawyer Natasa Pirc Musar and ruling liberal party candidate Marta Kos.

Also expected to run is former foreign minister Anze Logar, a candidate of right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party of former Prime Minister Janez Jansa.

If a woman wins she will become the first female president of the country since Slovenia became an independent nation in 1991 after splitting from the former Yugoslavia.

Pirc Musar has led the polls, with many in Slovenia feeling she could help bridge a divide between the right and left. She is also well known for representing Slovenia-born U.S. former first lady Melania Trump in some legal cases in her home country.

Marta Kos is from the liberal Freedom Movement, which runs the current Slovenian government after winning an election in April. The liberals ousted Jansa’s government, which during his term pushed the traditionally moderate European Union nation toward right-wing populism.

Pahor, who also served previously as prime minister, has sought to stoke political unity. He is banned from running again after two full terms.

While the presidency is largely ceremonial in Slovenia, the president still is seen as a person of authority in the Alpine country of 2 million people.

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