Serbian presidential rivals face election runoff | News | DW | 07.05.2012
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Serbian presidential rivals face election runoff

The Serbian Progressive Party has claimed a narrow victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, President Boris Tadic and ex-nationalist Tomislav Nikolic are to go head-to-head in an election runoff.

After a tight race between the two Serbian presidential hopefuls on Sunday, incumbent President Boris Tadic and ex-nationalist Tomislav Nikolic are headed for a runoff.

The Center for Free Elections and Democracy said its unofficial complete count revealed that President Boris Tadic of the Democratic Party took 26.7 percent of the votes, while the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislav Nikolic won 25.5 percent.

The leaders, who both support Serbia's bid to join the European Union, will now go head-to-head on May 20.

The candidates' political parties also ran a tightly fought race in Sunday's parliamentary vote. The opposition SNS claimed a narrow victory with around 24.7 percent of the vote. The Democrats, meanwhile, saw their support crumble to 23 percent from 38 percent in 2008.

It is the Socialist Party of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, however, who have emerged from the election as kingmakers. Led by Milosevic's former spokesman Ivica Dacic, they doubled their vote to some 16 percent.

"Whoever wants to talk to us ... will have to understand that we have risen from the ashes," Dacic told supporters in the capital, Belgrade on Sunday.

"Maybe Serbia doesn't know today who will be president, but it knows who will be prime minister."

The Socialists are now widely tipped to join the Democratic Party in reviving Serbia's outgoing coalition, with Dacic as a potential prime minister.

ccp/nt (AFP, AP, Reuters)