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Serbians vote in presidential election


Source: | 01-21-2008 08:53

Serbs are voting for president in the shadow of Kosovo's attempt for independence.

Boris Tadic, President and Democratic Party Leader.(
Boris Tadic, President and Democratic Party Leader.

Of the nine candidates vying for the post, the two serious contenders are seen as the pro-Western incumbent president Boris Tadic and his main challenger Tomislav Nikolic.

Polling stations opened in Serbia at 7 a.m local time, as voters went to elect a president for the ninth time.

The latest polls showed Nikolic leading. But he and Tadic would likely face a run-off on February 3rd if, as expected, neither candidate gets more than half of the first-round votes.

Both Tadic and Nikolic oppose independence for Kosovo, but they disagree on whether Serbia should join the European Union.

Despite growing anti-EU sentiment because of its support for Kosovo independence, Tadic has insisted that Serbia must continue on its European path.

Boris Tadic, President and Democratic Party Leader, said, "I am sure that at the end of the day, Serbia will choose the European path because of the future of this country and especially the young generations. I am very optimistic in terms of the final results of these elections."

Nikolic has vowed to do everything in his power to prevent Kosovo's independence and to strengthen ties with Russia. But he has softened his tones to attract moderates.

Tomislav Nikolic, Radical Party Leader.(
Tomislav Nikolic, Radical Party Leader.(

Tomislav Nikolic, Radical Party Leader, said, "Russia is a much closer partner to Serbia. Our path to Russia is open. If the EU wants to open up its doors and no longer impose obstacles, we will be glad to join the EU."

Belgrade and Pristina have failed to reach agreement on the future of Kosovo, which has been run by a UN mission since 1999.

Pro-independence ethnic Albanians dominate the province which Serbs see as the historical heartland of their nation.

Kosovo leaders have pledged to declare independence early this year with the help of EU and US officials.

Preliminary unofficial results could be announced late on Sunday night, though the final results are not expected until Thursday.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei