Tuerk wins Slovenian presidential run-off in landslide
Danilo Tuerk, Slovenia’s former senior UN diplomat, convincingly won Sunday’s presidential run-off with 68.3% of the vote against former prime minister Lojze Peterle, according to unofficial results released after almost all the votes were counted late on Sunday.
Tuerk won 671,018 votes and Peterle 312,012 votes or 31.7%, the National Electoral Commission said, adding that turnout was nearly 58%. This is the fourth presidential election in Slovenia after its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Slovenia’s presidential run-off closed at 7 p.m. (18:00 GMT)on Sunday after 12 hours of voting, while exit polls showed Tuerk winning the presidential run-off in a landslide.
Peterle conceded defeat on Sunday after the release of exit polls. “I congratulate Tuerk on the fair match. I admit I did not expect such a gap,” he told reporters, as exit polls were released. According to Peterle, the result is not a defeat, but a voice of no-confidence for the current government. He said his rating started dwindling when “polarization set in and I was being placed on the government side.”
Peterle, 59, entered the race with the support of all center-right coalition parties, but he was formally running as an independent. Peterle was the front-runner in the first round of the election on October 21, but won only 28.73% of the total vote - far short of the required 50% for an outright victory. He is also a Slovenian deputy in the European Parliament. Tuerk trailed with four percentage points behind in the first round.
Tuerk, the 55-year-old law professor, also ran as an independent but he was supported by the left-leaning opposition bloc. “The situation in Slovenia is conducive to a new course, voters wanted something new,” Tuerk told the press in his first reaction to the exit polls that show him winning in a landslide against Peterle. According to Tuerk, the comprehensive presidential campaign gave him a chance to present his standpoints, with which he managed to win over the voters.
Official results are to be announced on November 19, after votes from abroad are counted, but they cannot have a major impact on the result. Tuerk will be sworn in on December 22, taking over from Janez Drnovsek, who decided not to contest a second term. The president is elected to a five-year term. The job is largely ceremonial but it carries some authority over defense and foreign matters. (people.com.cn)
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