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Slovenia - Presidential Election

Opposition candidate Danilo Türk wins the presidential election in Slovenia

Opposition candidate Danilo Türk wins the presidential election in Slovenia

12/11/2007 - Results - 2nd round

The candidate supported by the Social Democrats, Danilo Türk, won the 2nd round of the presidential election on 11th November in Slovenia. He won 68.26% of the vote beating his rival Alojz Peterle, the candidate supported by the government majority who won 31.74% of the vote. Turn out was low rising to 57.78% only, nearly the same level as recorded in the 1st round on 21st October (57.67%).
"I am extremely happy with the result. I want to become a President who brings people together. I believe that the Slovenians have clearly understood my opinions, my positions and my assessment and have shown their hopes for something new," declared Danilo Türk adding, "my message to the Slovenians is for us to work together to take our country even further forwards in all areas." The former diplomat has the opposition's support: the Social Democratic party (SD), the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) and Zares (For Real) that was founded on 6th October last by several independent MPs, former Liberal Democrat Members. Danilo Türk definitely enjoyed the advantage provided by the transfer of vote on the part of Mitja Gaspari supporters (24.09% of the vote in the first round).

It would appear that Danilo Türk's victory signifies Alojz Peterle's defeat and more widely that of the head of government led by Janez Jansa (Democratic Party (SDS)). The former Prime Minister (1990-1992) and present MEP had the support of the three government parties that lie to the right on the political scale: NewSlovenia - Christian People's Party (Nsi), the Democratic Party (SDS) and the People's Party (SLS).
By voting for Danilo Türk the Slovenians have in fact voted against Janez Jansa. The Prime Minister is notably accused of the rise in inflation over the last few months, price increases which many Slovenians are blaming on the adoption of the euro on 1st January 2007. "This result is surely a serious warning to the government. People are unhappy because of mistakes that have been made and especially because of the high inflation rate," maintains Borut Hocevar, political analyst for the daily Zurnal 24.

Danilo Türk's victory is perceived as a sign of encouragement for the opposition with the upcoming general elections in the autumn of 2008. It does make the task of Prime Minister Janez Jansa, whose popularity is declining according to the polls, more difficult. This setback is the second defeat in the wake of the local elections on 22nd October and 12th November 2006 when the parliamentary majority lost the two main towns, Ljubljana and Maribor. The head of Government will also have to fight to keep ahead within his own majority since the leader of the People's Party (SLS), Janez Podobnik is due to be replaced shortly by Bojan Srot, the mayor of Celje who on several occasions has criticised the policies undertaken by Janez Jansa.

Milan Zver, Education Minister and leader of the main party in the government coalition, the Democratic Party (SDS) admitted that Alojz Peterle's defeat "was also that of the Democratic Party." He indicated that "this result makes no forecast for the general elections in the autumn of 2008. By that time the state of play will have changed several times over." "If Danilo Türk wins easily the centre right may very well be alarmed and if this is so the campaign for the general elections next year may start as early as 12th November," said Meta Roglic, political analyst for the Dnevnik just before the second round.
During the final days of the electoral campaign Prime Minister Janez Jansa tried to rally the electorate of Zmago Jelincic (National Party (SNS)) who won 19.16% of the vote in the first round by taking up nationalist themes. The Head of Government accused Danilo Türk of only providing "weak" support to Slovenia's bid for independence at the beginning of the 1990's. "I didn't see much of Danilo Türk during the fight for independence when some had no qualms about risking their lives," Alojz Peterle also said. Whilst these attacks were ongoing the opposition candidate who had chosen as his campaign slogan "You can count on me," was serene. "I think we shall be able to work well together if I win on Sunday," he simply replied.

55 year-old Danilo Türk from the town of Maribor says that he chose to study international law in order to "fight for a better, fairer world." Professor at the University of Ljubljana Mr Türk undertook most of his career abroad. Ambassador for Slovenia at the UN (1992-2000) he was then a UN diplomat and then political affairs advisor to Secretary General Kofi Annan between 2000 and 2005.

Succeeding in the wake of Janez Drnovsek, Danilo Türk will be the third Head of State since the country's independence in 1991. As from January 1st next he will be the first President of the Republic of a new member state to preside over the EU. The new head of State's diplomatic experience should be an advantage in this task. "I would say to the European Union: Slovenia is a strong, loyal, reliable partner. Have confidence in us and we shall be a good president of the European Union next year," he declared on Sunday night. Finally on 21st December next Slovenia will join the Schengen Area along with the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Malta.

Turn out: 57.67% (1st round) - 57.78% (2nd round)
Source: National Slovenian Electoral Commission
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The authors
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
Fondation Robert Schuman
Other stages
2nd roundD-7