Serbia heads to run-off vote
Serbian Progressive Party candidate for the 2012 presidential election Nikolic. REUTERS photo
A pro-European Union incumbent president Boris Tadic and a nationalist opponent Tomislav Nikolic are headed for a runoff in Serbia’s presidential elections, while the ruling party is likely to form the next coalition government, independent pollsters said.
The Center for Free Elections and Democracy said its unofficial complete count on May 6 showed the president, Boris Tadic of the Democratic Party (DS), taking 26.7 percent of the votes, while populist Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislav Nikolic has 25.5 percent. The run-off vote will be held on May 20.
The pollsters said the results are similar in the parallel parliamentary vote, meaning the Democrats are likely to form the next Cabinet with the Socialists. With neither party having an absolute majority they will have to put together a coalition government. But the results give the kingmaker role to the Socialists (SPS). Founded by late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, the SPS doubled its parliamentary presence with 16.6 percent of the vote to become the third biggest party, according to Agence France-Presse. Tadic’s popularity was threatened because of Serbia’s economic problems and alleged corruption among the ruling elite. Nikolic tried to get voter support by criticizing widespread social injustice and by promising jobs, financial security and billions of dollars in foreign investments if he and his party win the election.