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Serbia's pro-EU party surges ahead, observers say

Latest update : 2008-05-12

Election monitors say the pro-European Union Democratic Party led by Boris Tadic won a "very convincing victory" in Serbia's parliamentary polls, beating back Serbia's nationalist Radicals, in spite of bitterness over Kosovo's breakaway.

Serbia's pro-European forces appeared on course for a surprise general electoral victory over nationalists Sunday, based on early counts by the electoral commission, poll monitors and parties.
   
The pro-European alliance gathered around President Boris Tadic's Democratic Party (DS) was "convincingly winning these elections," Zoran Lucic, of the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID), told AFP.
   
That trend was confirmed by the Republic Electoral Commission, the DS itself and the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party, which gave the Democrats 35.1 percent, 38.8 percent and 37.1 percent, respectively.
   
According to the CeSID figures based on 80 percent of their sample count, the "For a European Serbia" coalition had gathered 39 percent of the vote, versus 28 percent for the ultra-nationalist Radical Party.
   
Back in the rear with 11 percent was the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), of outgoing nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.
   
The Socialist Party of late autocratic president Slobodan Milosevic would assemble at least eight percent of the vote, against 5.2 percent for the pro-Western Liberal Democratic Party.
   
Based on this, Tadic's pro-European camp would win 103 places in Serbia's 250-seat parliament, compared with 76 seats for the Radicals, 21 for the Socialists, 30 for the DSS, 13 for the LDP and seven for minorities.
   
According to the electoral commission, President Tadic's DS-led alliance was well ahead of the Radicals, which won an unexpectedly low 28.2 percent.
   
It gave Kostunica's DSS 15.2 percent, the Socialists 10.8 percent and LDP 3.95 percent -- below the five-percent threshold for entering the parliament.
   
The DS estimates gave the Radicals 28.4 percent, the DSS 11 percent, Socialists eight percent and LDP 5.4 percent.
   
The polls were a virtual referendum asking voters to choose between  entering or rebuffing the European Union in a backlash to the independence of Kosovo, which most Serbs see as their historic heartland.
 

Date created : 2008-05-11

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