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Serbs Voting In Presidential, Parliamentary Elections

May 06, 2012
by RFE/RL

Serbs are voting in simultaneous presidential, parliamentary, and local elections.

In the presidential vote on May 6, 12 candidates are in the running, with outgoing pro-EU Boris Tadic and socialist challenger Tomislav Nikolic viewed as most likely to go through to a second-round runoff.

Tadic, 54, is trailing in the opinion polls, mainly due to the country's economic downturn as a result of the global financial crisis.

Serbia's gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2011 was only 1.6 percent and expected to flatten this year, while unemployment stands currently at 24 percent.

Speaking in Belgrade on May 6, Tadic pledged to continue reforms if elected.

"We will stabilize our country by implementing macroeconomic measures," he said. "That's very important and I am expecting immediately after the election to form the government. That is going to be challenged with many, many important issues that we have to solve as soon as possible, like every country on the European continent."

Serbs 'Eager For Change'

Nikolic, meanwhile, appeared sure of victory, possibly from the first round on May 6, claiming Serbs are eager for change.

"I will win the biggest number of votes and it will not be the first time, but this time I hope this will also be the final result," he said. "Serbia has been anxiously waiting for change; change in Serbia is necessary and everybody is aware of that now.

"I hope we will be able to start talking about how to move Serbia forward already tonight, or in 14 days."

WATCH: Serbs go to the polls in parliamentary and presidential elections on May 6.
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In the parliamentary poll, Tadic's Democratic Party is predicted to finish behind Nikolic's Serbian Progressive Party.

However, analysts say the pro-EU camp will likely have a better chance than the nationalist bloc to form the next coalition government, just as they did after the last election four years ago.

Voting is also taking place for local councils.

The Serbian electoral commission announced that turnout at 10 a.m. local time was almost 11 percent, about the same as in the previous 2008 poll.

Polling stations are due to close at 8 p.m. local time, with the first partial results expected at around 9:30 p.m.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/serbs_voting_in_presidential_parliamentary_elections/24571765.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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