Slovenia has elected a lawyer linked to former US first lady, Melania Trump, as its first-ever female head of state.
Natasa Pirc Musar is a journalist and lawyer who ran as an independent candidate with the backing of Slovenia’s centre-left government.
She defeated former foreign minister, Anze Logar – a veteran of conservative politics.
Ms Pirc Musar won almost 54 per cent of the vote, ahead of Mr Logar who got just over 46 per cent, the election commission said.
Turnout among the population of around two million was 49.9 per cent, the commission said.
“Slovenia has elected a president who believes in the European Union, in the democratic values on which the European Union (EU) was founded,” Ms Pirc Musar said after her victory.
She noted that the world was “facing tough times because of climate change”.
“Young people are now putting the responsibility on our political shoulders to take care of our planet so that our next generation, our children, will live in a healthy and clean environment,” she said.
The role of president is mostly ceremonial, but Ms Pirc Musar will be commander in chief of the armed forces and also nominate several top officials, including the central bank governor.
Ms Pirc Musar was hired as a lawyer to protect the interests of Mrs Trump, who was born in Slovenia, during her husband’s presidency.
In 2016, Ms Pirc Musar and her client filed a lawsuit against Suzy magazine in Slovenia for suggesting Mrs Trump had worked as a high-end escort while pursuing her international modelling career. An out-of-court settlement was reached.
Slovenia’s populist Prime Minister, Janez Jansa, has suffered a heavy defeat in parliamentary elections by a left-leaning party formed only in January.
Mr Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party took about 24 per cent of the vote, compared to 34.5 per cent for the Freedom Movement party led by former businessman, Robert Golob.
The poll was marked by allegations that Mr Jansa had undermined the rule of law in the former Yugoslav state.
Mr Golob said his win will enable him to lead his country “back to freedom”.