Opposition candidate wins Slovenian presidential election

Sun Dec 2, 2012 3:25pm EST
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By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Former center-left prime minister Borut Pahor was elected to the largely ceremonial post of Slovenian president on Sunday to a backdrop of rising unrest in the recession-hit euro zone state.

Pahor is a member of the opposition Social Democrats, and has called for cooperation between the government and opposition to tackle the economic crisis and prevent Slovenia becoming the latest member of the 17-member currency union to seek a bailout.

In a run-off vote, Pahor won 67.4 percent, ahead of incumbent Danilo Turk on 32.6 percent with 99.7 percent of votes counted, the state Electoral Commission said.

"There is almost no problem that we cannot solve together," Pahor, who was prime minister from 2008 to 2011, told reporters after exit polls indicated he had won.

"It is my proposal that we reach a political agreement of all parliamentary parties," he said.

The Alpine country of 2 million people has been hit by a wave of protests in recent weeks over public sector spending cuts and alleged corruption.

On Friday, 30 people were arrested and at least 15 injured, most of them police officers, when police and protesters clashed in the capital Ljubljana.

On Sunday, with the country blanketed in the first snow of the season, some 250 people protested in Krsko in eastern Slovenia and more demonstrations were announced on Facebook for Monday in the larger cities.   Continued...

Former prime minister Borut Pahor celebrates his victory with supporters after the unofficial results were announced in the second round of Presidential elections in Ljubljana December 2, 2012. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic