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Slovenian President Borut Pahor attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool


LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia's President Borut Pahor is the front-runner in presidential elections due this month, according to a newspaper poll published on Monday.

The survey of 500 people conducted by the Delo newspaper is the first since the election commission announced the list of nine election candidates last week.

The poll predicts that Pahor, a former prime minister, would win 34.8 percent of the vote in the first round, followed by Kamnik city mayor Marjan Sarec, who is running as an independent candidate, with 22.7 percent.

The two would then compete in the second round where Pahor would win a majority, according to the survey.

Pahor is also running as an independent candidate although he enjoys the support of the Social Democrats, of which he once was the leader. The SD are junior coalition partner to the centre-left Party of Modern Centre.

Opposition candidates Ljudmila Novak and Romana Tomc would get 10.6 and 9.9 percent of votes in the first round, while Education Minister Maja Makovec Brencic, the Modern Centre candidate, would win 2 percent of the vote, the poll said.

Although the presidency is mostly ceremonial, the president leads the army and nominates several top officials, including the central bank governor.

The election is seen as a possible indicator of parties' support before general elections are held in June or July next year.

Pahor was prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

(Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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