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Politics

Pahor completes come-from-behind campaign in Slovenia

Borut Pahor has won the Slovenian presidential election run-off vote, state television reported. The former prime minister had been expected to defeat the incumbent, Danilo Türk.

With 96 percent of the votes counted, Social Democrat Pahor had 67 percent of the ballots cast, while the independent incumbent Danilo Türk had 33 percent, the state election commission said.

The election had taken place amid growing discontent with cost-cutting measures designed to avoid an international bailout. Sunday's vote came just days after anti-austerity protests in the capital erupted in clashes that left 15 people injured and triggered fears that the economic crisis could push Slovenia into instability.

The election was closely watched throughout the European Union. Slovenia has promised to follow through with budget cuts and banking changes to avoid asking for EU help. Some 1.7 million people were eligible to vote.

Pahor has supported some government austerity measures, while Türk has been a fierce critic of them.

An opinion poll conducted ahead of the election for the Dnevnik newspaper had given Pahor 53.1 percent support compared to 31.6 for Türk. The first round of voting on November 11 had been much closer, with Pahor taking 40 percent compared to 36 percent for Türk, who had entered the contest as the favorite.

mkg/hc (dpa, AP)