Low turnout in Serbian presidential election | News | DW | 20.05.2012
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Low turnout in Serbian presidential election

Serbs have voted in a presidential run-off election, but turnout has been poor. Pre-election surveys had indicated that incumbent pro-European Boris Tadic would prevail against nationalist Tomislav Nikolic.

Serbian President Boris Tadic sought to win his third and final five-year mandate on Sunday as voters went to the polls in the final round of the presidential election.

But many of the 6.7 million eligible voters shunned the polling stations, with turnout at just under 37 percent two hours before they shut at 8 p.m. local time.

Surveys published ahead of the run-off vote showed Tadic leading with 58 percent of the vote compared to nationalist challenger Tomislav Nikolic's 42 percent.

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Serbian presidential run-off

The incumbent president also polled slightly ahead of Nikolic, a one-time ally of the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, in the first round of voting on May 6. The result led the nationalists to accuse Tadic of fraud, spurning fears of possible violence after Sunday's run-off vote. Serbia's prosecutor and electoral officials have dismissed the charge.

EU membership at stake

The outcome of Sunday's presidential election is widely considered integral to Serbia's hopes of becoming a member of the European Union.

Tadic, who led Serbia in securing EU candidacy status in March, has pledged to remain dedicated to European integration and economic development if re-elected.

Although recently converted to a pro-European course, Nikolic has warned that EU membership must not come at any cost. He has also pushed for closer ties with Russia, accusing Tadic of only seeking cooperation with the EU and United States.

"I support a two-door policy, both towards the East and the West," he said in a heated TV debate with Tadic last week.

ccp, ng/ipj (AP, AFP, dpa)

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