Pro-European President wins Serbian elections

Serbian voters backed their pro-European President, Boris Tadic, in a dramatic election race last night.

The Central Electoral Commission announced that Mr Tadic had obtained 50.5 per cent of the votes cast, while the ultranationalist and pro-Russian candidate, Tomislav Nikolic, was close behind with 47.9 per cent of votes.

"Serbia is a European democracy," Mr Tadic said after the results. "We have shown the democratic potential of Serbia."

According to Zoran Lucic, the head of the prominent election monitoring group CeSID, the difference between the two was "a mere 100,000 votes". More than 4.5 million people showed up at polling stations yesterday, a turnout of 67.6 per cent and the highest turnout since the former President Slobodan Milosevic was ousted in 2000.

The commission later announced a 4 per cent lead for Mr Tadic.

The run-off presidential vote had a huge bearing on Serbia's future as Mr Tadic is now expected to steer the biggest state in the Balkans into the family of European nations. Mr Nikolic had led in the first round.

The ballot had been viewed as a final choice between European integration or the isolation of the past. Mr Tadic, 50, promised the road to the EU, despite all the obstacles the nation faces. Mr Nikolic stood for closer ties with Russia, often called the traditional ally of Serbia.

That would have meant the return of Serbia into the isolationist past of the 1990s, when Mr Nikolic's Radical Party ruled with the former president Milosevic.

Slovenia, which currently holds the European Union presidency, welcomed the re-election of Mr Tadic, the Democratic Party's leader. "The Serbian people seem to have confirmed their support to the democratic and European course of their country," the EU presidency said in a statement.

The tight result showed how Serbs remain deeply split over current political issues and on their recent past, analysts say. "Tadic won, my congratulations," Mr Nikolic said at his party headquarters. "I would like to call on everyone to stay calm," he added.

The President's tight victory came just as the UN-administered Serbian province of Kosovo is to declare independence. Its two million ethnic Albanians are expected to break away in the coming weeks. Although both candidates had opposed Kosovo's secession, Mr Tadic is believed by the international community to be the politician able to cushion the inevitable shock felt by Serbs.

And he does not oppose co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia sitting in The Hague, where the Radicals' founder, Vojislav Seselj, is on trial for war crimes committed during the civil war.

However, to secure itsEuropean future, Serbia still has to hand over war criminals from the 1990s –the former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic. The two are accused of ordering the executions of 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 – the biggest massacre in Europe since the Second World War.

Karadzic is believed to be hiding in the mountains of eastern Bosnia or northern Montenegro, while Mladic is believed to be in Serbia.

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?