Fears rise of return to nationalism as Serbia votes in presidential elections

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The Independent Online

Serbia goes to the polls tomorrow in the second round of crucial presidential elections.

Serbia goes to the polls tomorrow in the second round of crucial presidential elections.

The outcome will show whether Serbs want the modern country promised by Boris Tadic, the pro-European leader of the Democratic Party, or a Greater Serbia promised by Tomislav Nikolic from the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party.

The European commissioner for external affairs Chris Patten said earlier this week that Serbs had a clear choice "between joining the European family or Belarus".

EU officials have warned that a victory for Mr Nikolic could condemn Serbia to further diplomatic isolation.

All the democratic parties, including the ruling coalition of the Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, have given their full support to Mr Tadic in his presidential race. Most of opinion polls suggest that Mr Tadic is the favourite in the elections.

The Serbian Radical Party was once led by Vojislav Seselj, who is facing trial at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The aim of his party is to create a Greater Serbia stretching over Croatia and Bosnia.

The concept of a Greater Serbia led to the wars of the 1990s in which more than 250,000 people were killed.

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