Serbia: Tadic expected to win presidential run-off
last update: May 17, 16:22
Belgrade, 17 May (AKI) - Boris Tadic, who is running for third term as Serbian president, was tipped as a winner in an election run-off on Sunday, after a heated television duel Wednesday evening.
In a 90-minute debate, Tadic confronted challenger Tomislav Nikolic, the leader of the Serbian Progressive party (SNS) and most analysts agreed Tadic looked more “like a statesman” and had a slight winning edge.
“Nikolic’s only serious success was that he ascribed grave economic and social crisis in Serbia to Tadic’s government, neglecting however that the crisis had been imported,” analyst Milan Nikolic said.
“I think that that the debate gave a slight advantage to Nikolic,” said analyst Djordje Vukadinovic. But most analysts agreed that the debate was unlikely to swing the voters one way or the other.
Tadic beat Nikolic in the first presidential round two weeks ago by a mere 10,000 votes, but he can count on the support of all pro-European parties in the run-off. Nikolic, on the other hand, got support of former prime minister Vojislav Kostunica, a staunch opponent of Kosovo independence, declared by majority Albanians in 2008.
Nikolic scored a narrow victory in parliamentary elections, but Tadic’s Democratic Party has already secured parliamentary majority to form a new government with its coalition partners who back Tadic.
Tadic secured for Serbia a status of an official candidate for European Union membership this year and enjoys wide support among leading EU politicians. Nikolic, a former nationalist, has turned pro-European in recent years, but Tadic challenged his sincerity and called him a “turn coat”.
Nikolic, on the other hand, accused Tadic of preparing a coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party, which openly advocates Kosovo independence. But Tadic insisted he would continue his policy concept which gives priority to European integrations, without renouncing Kosovo.
The opposition claims Tadic has a complete control of the Serbian media and most newspapers have covertly or openly supported his campaign. According to most surveys Tadic has a half per cent advantage in Sunday elections.
But analysts said the final outcome may depend on whether Tadic’s coalition partners can convince their voters to back him in the run-off.
Tadic said people should choose on Sunday “European future for their children”. Nikolic, on the other hand, said voters should “punish Tadic for false promises” in the past and for bad situation in the country.
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