The Serbian government called on President Boris Tadic to dissolve parliament and call elections Monday, after the ruling coalition collapsed over a rift in policy towards Kosovo and the EU.
"The government of Serbia no longer has a united and joint policy," Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's government said in a statement, proposing parliament be disbanded and a general election be called for May 11.
Tadic, who has said he will approve the request, has a three-day deadline to comply. He is expected to do so on Thursday, Tanjug news agency reported.
Over the weekend, the moderate nationalist premier announced that his Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) was unable to overcome differences with its pro-European coalition partners from Tadic's Democratic Party.
The rift came four weeks after Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia, despite fierce opposition from Serbs, who consider the territory their historic and cultural heartland.
Despite Serbia's anger, most European Union countries have recognised the new state, and Kostunica vowed to halt Serbia's further integration until the 27-member bloc rejects Kosovo's separation.
He shares this position with the ultra-nationalist opposition Serbian Radical Party (SRS), which will now be looking to campaign hard on the issue ahead of the expected May poll.
Serbia's traditional ally Russia has also furiously denounced Kosovo's breakaway and blocked efforts in the UN Security Council to offer support for its independence.
Tadic, a pro-western reformer, insists Belgrade has no alternative but to join the EU as soon as possible -- despite the dispute over Kosovo -- and has accused the DSS of using delaying tactics to foil integration.
In Brussels, the European Union expressed the hope that pro-western forces would win any poll.
"I don't think that there is any other possibility for our Serbian friends than the EU," said Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, whose country currently holds the union's six-month rotating presidency.
"Where else should they go?" he asked.
Serbia has initialled but not signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the first step for Balkan states wishing to join the bloc.
The Netherlands prevented Serbia from taking the next step, because of Belgrade's failure to hand over UN war crimes suspects, like former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic who has been indicted for genocide.
Analysts say the elections will be seen as a referendum on Serbia's future -- with the electorate expected to split into two main blocs.
While all Serbian leaders insist publicly that Kosovo must remain part of Serbia, Tadic's pro-European supporters argue that the issue should not be allowed to poison relations with Brussels.
The radical SRS and Kostunica's DSS take a harder line, calling for closer ties with Moscow and a halt to rapprochement with Europe if a majority of EU members recognise Kosovo as an independent state.
"We have a good opportunity for the people of Serbia to choose their way forward," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said in Brussels ahead of a meeting of European foreign ministers.
The political crisis saw prices on the Belgrade's stock exchange fall 2.62 percent -- their lowest level since January 2007.
Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since 1999, when the NATO military alliance intervened to halt what it said was the massacre of the territory's ethnic Albanian majority by Yugoslav security forces.
The UN mission is now due to be replaced by a 2,000-strong European mission, which will work to train Kosovo's judicial and law enforcement agencies while the ethnic Albanian government builds state institutions.