Melania Trump lawyer has an edge to become Slovenia’s first woman president

A lawyer who has worked with former US President Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, has the edge in becoming Slovenia’s first female president.

Natasa Pirc Musar, backed by the centre-left government, is running against ex-foreign minister Anze Logar, a veteran of conservative politics, in the EU country of two million.

A lawyer, Pirc Musar was hired to protect the interests of Slovenian-born Melania Trump during her husband’s presidency, stopping companies attempting to commercialise products with her name.

Pirc Musar, who also served as the head of Slovenia’s information watchdog and has advocated for LGBTQ rights, led polling with 51.7% support in a Mediana survey published by the Delo newspaper on Thursday. Logar trailed with 44.6% — a gap that will be difficult for him to overcome unless turnout is unusually low.

Pirc Musar, who headed the country’s data protection authority for a decade, says her victory would make her “the voice of women” in Slovenia and abroad.

Though the president’s role is largely ceremonial, the human rights advocate has vowed to be a “moral authority”.

“The president cannot be neutral… and have no opinion… I have never been afraid to speak out,” the former television presenter, 54, said in an interview.

Pirc Musar, who is a keen motorcyclist, has come under attack because of her husband’s lucrative investments — especially in tax havens.

Known as an LGBTQ rights advocate, Pirc Musar said she expected a “battle of values” in the runoff and that she is looking forward it.

“Only a very naive person or an idealist can say that this election is not a battle between liberal and more conservative values,” Pirc Musar told Slovenia’s STA news agency.

Her opponent Logar, 44, also ran as an independent but is a long-time member of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of Janez Jansa, who failed in his bid to be re-elected as premier in April.

Logar has faced criticism that he is hardly an independent candidate, given his previous and current roles in Jansa’s conservative SDS party.

In the face of the current global, strategic and energy challenges caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Logar said he believes he has an advantage over his rival because of the experience he gained as foreign minister.

Voting to replace incumbent Borut Pahor, who served two five-year terms and can’t run again, will conclude on Sunday.

While the presidency is largely ceremonial in Slovenia, the head of state still is seen as a person of authority in the Alpine country of 2 million people.

Presidents nominate prime ministers and members of the constitutional court, who are then elected in parliament, and appoints members of the anti-corruption commission.

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