LJUBLJANA — Slovenians voted for a president Sunday, hoping whoever wins will boost the prospects of the small, economically struggling country, which may become the next European nation needing an international bailout.
Three candidates were competing — incumbent President Danilo Turk, former Prime Minister Borut Pahor and ruling center-right coalition candidate Milan Zver.
But none was expected to win the majority needed for an outright victory, so a second round of balloting will likely take place Dec. 2.
The presidency is a largely ceremonial post, but it still commands political authority in this nation of 2 million.
Chosen for a five-year term, the president heads the army and proposes the national bank chief. The latter is an especially sensitive task, considering the severe financial crisis caused here by state-owned banks’ rampant lending.
The race for president also could affect political stability in Slovenia, where the government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa faces strong opposition to the reform package it believes will help save the economy, such as pension and labor reforms.
Mr. Jansa’s government also has pushed for the recapitalization of banks and the creation of a so-called “wealth fund” to manage state property, but the opposition is demanding a referendum on those measures.
Surveys suggest Mr. Turk was leading, followed by Mr. Pahor and Mr. Zver. Both Mr. Turk and Mr. Pahor have criticized Mr. Jansa’s government.
All three candidates promised to do their best to boost optimism in this European Union nation.
About 14 percent of voters cast ballots in the first four hours of voting. Some 1.6 million people were eligible to vote.
Right-wingers injure two police officers
WARSAW — Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a right-wing march that took place in Warsaw as Poland marked its independence day.
Police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said two officers were injured and that several hooligans were detained after throwing stones and metal objects at the police.
The right-wing hooligans disturbed just one of the many marches taking place in the capital Sunday to mark 94 years since Poland regained sovereignty after more than 120 years of imposed foreign rule.