05/11/2007 - D-7 - 2nd round
1.8 million Slovenians are being called to ballot on 11th November next in the second round of the presidential election in which the candidate supported by the present government – New Slovenia-Christian People's Party (Nsi), Democratic Party (SDS) and the People's Party (SLS) – Alojz Peterle will face Danilo Türk who has the support of the opposition forces – the Social Democratic Party (SD), Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) and Zares (For Real). The latter won 24.7% of the vote in the first round of the election on 21st October in comparison with 28.73% for Alojz Peterle. The result surprised observers who had forecast a wider margin for the candidate supported by the ruling parties. Turn out was low (57.67%).
Only 10% of Slovenians abroad fulfilled their civic duty and they voted differently from their fellow countrymen, 46.40% of them voting for Alojz Peterle. 18.34% of them chose Mitja Gaspari, former Finance Minister (1992-2000) and former governor of the Central Bank. Then came Danilo Türk (17.3%) then far behind him the National Party candidate (SNS), Zmago Jelincic (5.9%). The members of the opposition had protested against the participation of the 70,000 Slovenians living abroad; this is the first time this has happened in a presidential election – their argument being that this opened the way to potential voting fraud.
"We were hoping for a better result," said Alojz Peterle after the first round. The majority candidate said however that he was confident and optimistic about the second round. "We have room to manoeuvre in the second round," maintained Prime Minister Janez Jansa (SDS).
"Alojz Peterle won the first round although he is also the main loser," wrote Meta Roglic, political analyst in the daily Dnevnik on 22nd October. "Alojz Peterle is the main loser in the first round," maintained political analyst Vlado Miheljak. The candidate of the ruling forces appeared to lose ground just before the first round. Political observers maintained that the three government parties had not supported him with the same enthusiasm; some even perceived that he was Janez Jansa's favourite. Anticipating easy victory for Alojz Peterle in the first round Slovenians possibly preferred to wait for 11th November which will be "a real test in view of the general elections planned to take place in the autumn of 2008," says political analyst Milan Balazic.
Miro Kline, political analyst, believes that the high score achieved by Zmago Jelincic – 19.16% was the real surprise produced in the first round. The far right candidate more than doubled the result he achieved in the first round of the presidential election on 10th November 2002 (8.51%). In this score the candidate himself sees a fantastic platform for his party in the general elections next year.
Between rounds Alojz Peterle, former Prime Minister (1990-1992), former Foreign Minister (1993-1994 and 2000) and present MEP, has not changed his electoral strategy and has maintained a moderate approach trying to refocus his image as an ardent Catholic. "Polarisation prepared us badly for the issues we had to face," declared Mr Peterle who says he wants to unify the country and turn Slovenia into a model within the European Union. His main rival, Danilo Türk, professor of international law and former ambassador for Slovenia at the UN (1992-2000), former diplomat and former advisor to the Secretary General Kofi Annan, (2000-2005), is standing as a man of reconciliation and consensus. When asked about the polls which forecast his victory he maintains that he does not feel victorious and feels that he is simply a candidate, who wants more than anything in the world, to convince the electorate to vote on 11th November. Alojz Peterle says he does not believe in the polls which he accuses of forming public opinion rather than reflecting it.
Although both men say they are independent, Alojz Peterle and Danilo Türk each represent opposite sides of the political scale. Just one week before the election the present majority's candidate appears to be in a delicate situation whilst Danilo Türk should logically rally the opposition forces to his name; they are now in the majority in the country if we believe the polls.
Since the country's independence on 25th June 1991 Heads of State have all come from the left wing. Victory for Alojz Peterle on 11th November would therefore be an all time first.
Reminder of the results -1st round of the presidential election on 21st October 2007.
Turn out: 57.67%
Source: The Slovenian National Electoral Commission