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Old December 2nd, 2012 #21
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Pahor wins Slovenian presidential run-off

English.news.cn 2012-12-03 05:40:56

By Xinhua writer Zhao Yi

LJUBLJANA, Dec. 2 (Xinhua)-- Former Slovenian prime minister Borut Pahor, who won a landslide victory in the 2012 presidential election run-off on Sunday, called for joint effort to help Slovenia bridge over difficulties and crisis.

This is "only the beginning, the beginning of something new, a new hope, a new period, " he told reporters soon after he was unofficially announced winner of the presidential run-off.

"We need trust, mutual respect, tolerance, readiness to listen. And irrespective of how big the differences among us may be, the things that connect us are even stronger."

Pahor won 67 percent of votes, while incumbent President Danilo Turk, who seeks second term, got 33 percent, unofficial and incomplete results showed.

While Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa congratulated his predecessor Pahor on winning the presidential run-off, incumbent Presdient Danilo Turk, who sought for the second term in office, has conceded defeat in the runoff, and congratulated Pahor, Slovenian Press Agency reported.

The outgoing president said he would remain an "active citizen" after his term officially ends in three weeks.

The latest presidential elections in Slovenia, the fifth of its kind since the former republic of Yugoslavia declared independence in 1991, kicked off three weeks ago.

The run-off election took place as there was no candidate winning an outright majority in the first round.

Slovenia's president, with a five-year term, is largely a ceremonial post. However, as head of state, he is custodian of the national constitution and the supreme commander of the country's armed forces.

Pahor, 49, was prime minister between November 2008 and February 2012. His cabinet failed in September 2011 to pass confidence vote in the National Assembly due to its failure to deal with worsening political and economic crisis.

Pahor's setbacks prompted a snap parliamentary vote last December. He was succeeded by Jansa in February 2012.

During his latest presidential campaign, Pahor promised to do his best to restore confidence among politicians and people, and to seek political consensus to tackle the crisis in Slovenia.

On foreign affairs, he advocated to give first priority to the maintenance of good relations with all of its neighboring countries, because the most trade is done with these countries and most investment comes from them.

He suggested Slovenia play more political influence in the Western Balkans, strengthen strategic partnerships with EU countries, and enhance its political and economic cooperation with main global powers.

He also stood for Slovenia's involvement in international peacekeeping missions organized by international organizations, especially the NATO.

Pahor's bid for the presidency of Slovenia has been supported by Jansa and Parliament Speaker Gregor Virant.

Slovenia needs a new president who should be more unifying, Jansa told reporters as he cast his vote in the run-off of presidential election.

Virant voiced his support for Pahor publicly, noting that cooperation between state president and parliamentary speaker was very important.

Slovenia, with two million people, prepared some 3,300 polling stations for 1.7 million eligible voters across the country to cast votes.

However, the turnout of Sunday's elections was reportedly 31 percent, which was the lowest on record.

Such a low turnout could be attributed partially to poor weather, with snow and rain sweeping across the country.

But anti-government demonstrations and protests that turned bloody violent in the past few days have apparently remarkable negative impact on enthusiasm about the presidential election, local analysts said.

More than a dozen of police officers injured and about 60 protesters were detained when 10,000-strong protests against social unfairness and official corruption broke out in Ljubljana and Maribor, the second largest city in the country, last week.

The successive anti-government demonstrations were believed to be the worst social turmoil ever since the founding of the Republic of Slovenia in 1991.

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