Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Eu Hails Tadic Victory in Serbia Vote

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Eu Hails Tadic Victory in Serbia Vote

Article excerpt

The European Union welcomed with relief the victory of pro-reformist Boris Tadic in Serbia's presidential elections on 3 February. Tadic beat his ultra-nationalist rival, Tomislav Nikolic. Immediately after the first results of the vote were published, Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, congratulated Tadic, saying that his re-election as president is seen as a "victory for democracy in Serbia and for the European values we share".

The state electoral commission and independent vote monitors said, on 4 February, that Tadic won about 51% of the votes, while Tomislav Nikolic had 47%. The remaining ballots were invalid. The result was particularly hailed by Slovenia, a Western Balkan country, which has been holding the EU's rotating Presidency since 1 January. Ljubljana said in a statement that by re-electing Tadic, "Serbian people seem to have confirmed their support to the democratic and European course of their country".

Unlike Nikolic, Tadic sees Serbia's future within the EU and NATO. During the election campaign, he said that the elections were a referendum on where Serbia wanted to go - either towards the EU or towards close ties with Russia (as favoured by Nicolic). Although both candidates strongly oppose Kosovo's independence, Tadic, unlike Nikolic, has never threatened the EU or the US with any retaliatory measures in case they recognise Kosovo as an independent statea- a move which would plunge Serbia into a new era of isolation. On the contrary, Tadic has always been in favour of separating the question of Kosovo's status and his country's European perspective. …

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