Slovenians were voting on Sunday 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.
Although Logar came first in the first round on Oct. 23, opinion polls have narrowly favored a victory on Sunday for Pirc Musar, an independent candidate who has secured the support of the ruling coalition for the runoff.
Polling stations close at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT) and first results are expected about two hours later.
Although the role is mostly ceremonial, the president heads the army and nominates several top officials, including the central bank governor. Most of the nominations must be confirmed by parliament.
The new president of Slovenia, an EU and NATO member state, will replace Borut Pahor, a former fashion model who served two five-year terms and is often referred in public as the Instagram president for his frequent use of the social network.
An opinion poll conducted by the Ninamedia agency published in the daily Dnevnik on Friday showed Pirc Musar winning 51.2% of the votes, with Logar taking 48.8%.
“I expect the next president to care about us, the citizens, to represent Slovenia in a good manner,” Uros Pinter said after casting his ballot in Ljubljana. “I think it is time for a female president.”
Pirc Musar, 54, a former TV presenter who is now an influential lawyer, campaigned on human rights, the rule of law and social welfare issues.
Logar, 46, is a member of the right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who lost April’s general election to the environmentalist Freedom Movement of Prime Minister Robert Golob.
“Pirc Musar’s victory would signify continued voter support for moderate center-left politicians in the country, which until recently was governed by a right-wing populist government led by Janez Jansa,” Teneo consultancy said in a note on Thursday.
Logar’s campaign slogan was: “Let’s work together for the future,” and he focused in his speeches on traditional family values and religion in the largely Roman Catholic country.