The exit polls are in and it looks like that Lojze Peterle (25,8%) and Danilo Türk (25,6%) will advance to the next round. But I will reserve my final call until later tonight, as Mitja Gaspari gor 24,5 % of the vote.
A big unwelcome surprise is the result of candidate of the Slovene National Party Zmago Jelinčič, who got 20,5 % of the vote
According to the Constitution, the powers of the President of the Republic are severely limited. However, the office of the President does bring some very important responsibilities, the chief one among one being the fact that the President is technically the Commander-in-Chief of the Slovene defense forces, which, curiously enough, besides the Army also include the Civil Defense and the firefighters. But that aside, the President is elected for a five-year term with a possibility of being immediately re-elected for another five-year term. He or she, however, cannot run for office again if they did not seek re-election after their first term ended.
Another important role of the President is to appoint the candidate for the Prime Minister, a rather curious provision of the Slovene Constitution, which stipulates that the Parliament must take two votes: first on the Prime Minister him- or herself and then on his or here selection of the cabinet, both of which must be approved in order for the Government to be formed. This of course puts the President of the Republic into the spotlight as far as selection of the Prime Minister is concerned.
This will do for now. It looks like the fun isn’t over yet as the second round will be held on November 11th. But I will continue to update this post as the night progresses.
UPDATE 1: According to state television, Peterle and Gaspari will proceed to the second round. This promises to be plenty of fun 😀
UPDATE 2 (2040 hrs): For all of you who want to follow the results in almost real-time, this is the link to the state electoral comission in English. It appears that the turnout was terribly low – only 53,6 % of eligible voters cast their vote. And – not unlike the last two presidential elections in the US, it could very well happen that the final result will be determined by overseas votes. Namely, the state electoral commission has (somewhat controversially) decided to send a ballot to every voter outside Slovenia, even to those who haven’t requested a ballot. It is understood that some 50 thousand ballots will be returned. This represents 3.125 percent of total votes and although most of those votes will probably go to Peterle, they could very well decide whether Türk or Gaspari go to the second round. Results @ 20:40 Peterle: 28,07%, Türk: 24,71%, Gaspari: 24,34%
P.S.: She speaks!!! 😆 PM’s – well – girlfriend Urška Bačovnik finally spoke to the media. First of all: she needs a lot of media tranining. But most importantly – she announced that she and PM Janša are about to get married. Not that it was totall unexpected, but still… The yellow press will probably go ga-ga over this tomorrow.
UPDATE 3 (2215 hrs): The elections will probably come down to the wire. The unofficial incomplete results show that Lojze Peterle got 28,5 percent of the vote, Danilo Türk got 24,55 percent and Mitja Gaspari got 24.16 percent.
So I guess it’s time for some analysis.
Probably the biggest surprise was the relatively low number of percentange of votes Lojze Peterle got. All the pre-election polls predicted he would get at least 10 percent more. And although he is still the winner of the first round, his campaing entered a downward trend which he must now work hard to stop it. Türk or Gaspari, however, have both exceeded expectations and whoever of the two goes on to the second round can build on the momentum in the next fourteen days.
The reasons for this rather surprising result? First and foremost, the criminally low turnout. But that may be more of an effect than a cause. Peterle seems to have neglected his electorate, taking it for granted and perhaps moving too much to the centre – his natular electorate failing to go to the polls as a result. On the other hand, neither Gaspari nor Türk have shown great promise during pre-election campaign, but are now in a dead-heat for a place in the second round. This early in the aftermath period (and lacking any empirical data) I would agree with an opinion by analyist Miha Kovač on POP TV, who said that Türk (and in my opinion Gaspari as well) did gain some ground in the centre in the final stages of the campaing, but that the disenchanted voters of the left have voted for fourth-placed nationalist Zmago Jeličnič.
The second round, held on 11 November, will be most interesting. Following the rules of simple mathematics, it looks as if Peterle is in grave danger, as combined votes for Türk and Gaspari by far exceed votes for Peterle. But there are a lof of “if”s out there and such a simple transfer of votes is highly unlikely. I would presume that in the next fourteen days we can expect much more visible roles of both the incumbent president (Janez Drnovšek) and his predecessor Milan Kučan, as well as a more promiment role of PM Janez Janša on the other side of the ring.
Results @ 2300 hrs: Peterle 28,5 %, Türk: 24,54 %, Gaspari: 24,15 %