Wednesday

22nd Feb 2017

Pro-EU Serb leader fails to get clear victory

  • Tadic in Brussels - Serbia's presidential election heads to a run-off on 20 May (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Preliminary results in Serbia's presidential election indicate the two leading contenders will face a run-off on 20 May as neither managed to secure a clear majority over the weekend.

With around 25 percent of votes counted, the Serbian electoral commission said on Sunday (6 May) that pro-Western President Boris Tadic took 26.7 percent of the vote, while populist-nationalist candidate Tomislav Nikolic won 25.5 percent. Final results are due by Thursday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Less than half the population turned out to vote.

Analysts say high unemployment and other economic problems have led to a growing anti-EU sentiment in the country, which was granted EU candidacy status in March. The country has 24 percent unemployment and monthly salaries averaging at around €400.

Tadic, who has ruled the country for the past eight years, is aiming to push Serbia further towards full EU membership. He was instrumental in the arrest of war crimes suspects Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. He has also made pro-EU concessions on Kosovo.

"I expect even more support from citizens [in the run-off] ... because it is in their utmost interest: to lead them into the EU, to bring more investments, more regional cooperation," Tadic said.

Nikolic, is a former ultranationalist ally of war-time leader Slobodan Milosevic.

He once said he would rather see Serbia become a province of Russia than a member of the European Union. He now supports EU membership, but some commentators believe the change in position is a superficial ploy to gain votes.

He also campaigned against corruption and political cronyism and has vowed to improve living conditions.

A parallel parliamentary election indicates Nikolic's Serbian Progressive Party will become the largest in the parliament. It took 23.53 percent in the parliamentary vote, compared with 22.09 percent for Tadic's Democratic Party.

"The party, in [just] three-and-a-half years of existence, has won most of the votes in Serbia," Nikolic said.

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

Russia courts Serbia amid EU dispute

Serbian PM Vucic cut short a trip to Brussels, the same day as Russian foreign minister said the EU was pushing Balkan countries to "antagonise" Russia.

EU in damage control on festering Turkey relations

The EU commission wants to maintain relations with Turkey, despite an EU parliament vote to suspend accession talks amid renewed threats from Ankara to scrap a migrant swap deal.

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

News in Brief

  1. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  2. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  3. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  4. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  5. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  6. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  7. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  8. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  2. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  3. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  4. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  6. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  8. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  9. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  10. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  12. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship