LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's former Center-Left prime minister Borut Pahor won the first round of a presidential election on Sunday and will face the incumbent Danilo Turk on Dec. 2, the Electoral Commission said.

The election for the largely ceremonial post is being held as the recession-hit country struggles to stave off a bailout and plug the gap in its public finances, with a budget deficit of 4.2 percent of gross domestic product expected this year.

"It seems very likely that Pahor will win in the second round. What may have convinced the voters was his bridge building between the government and the opposition," Borut Hocevar, a political analyst from daily newspaper Finance said.

Pahor, from the Center-Left opposition Social Democrats, won 40 percent of the votes. Turk, an independent backed by the larger Center-Left Positive Slovenia opposition party, won 36 percent.

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