Nataša Pirc Musar, a lawyer and former data privacy commissioner, took office as the country’s first female president, a symbolic step in an otherwise largely ceremonial post.
Although she ran as an independent, Pirc Musar had the support of Slovenia’s center-left government and secured over 53% of the country’s votes during presidential elections in November, beating her conservative rival Anže Logar.
The 54-year-old has vowed to present herself differently to outgoing president Borut Pahor, who rarely got involved in domestic politics during his decade in office.
“I have never been quiet when it was necessary to speak up,” she said, before entering the presidential race in late September, citing mounting corruption and the country’s challenges to rule of law.
In previous speeches, Pirc Musar has also emphasized the need to prioritize combatting climate change.
Originally trained as a journalist, Pirc Musar was formerly a TV presenter, with a short stint at CNN. She completed a PhD in law at Vienna University before being named the country’s commissioner for access to public information in 2004.
During the Trump presidency, Pirc Musar was hired to protect the interests of Melania Trump and stop companies from using the first lady’s name or likeness for commercial gain.
“Slovenia has elected a president who believes in the European Union, in the democratic values on which the EU was founded,” Pirc Musar said after winning presidential elections in November.