Tadić leads after first presidential vote; DS and Socialists seek to form government

Final election results have been announced in last Sunday’s joint presidential and parliamentary elections in Serbia.

In the parliamentary election, the more nationalist center-right Serbian Progressive Party (Српска напредна странка / SNS) finished first in parliamentary elections, followed closely by the longtime governing center-left Democratic Party (Демократска странка / DS).  The largest surprise, however, was the strength of the third-place winner, the Socialist Party of Serbia (Социјалистичка партија Србије / SPS), the one-time party of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević, but now a nationalist, but firmly pro-EU center-left party in Serbia.

In the presidential race, President Boris Tadić (the DS candidate, pictured above) finished first with 25.31%, followed closely by the SNS candidate, Tomislav Nikolić at 25.03%.  Nikolić is running for the third time against Tadić, who has been Serbia’s president since 2004.  The SPS candidate, Ivica Dačić, won 14.23%.

In the meanwhile, the official results of the parliamentary elections saw the SNS win 73 seats on 24.04% of the vote, the DS win 67 seats on 22.11% of the vote and the SPS win 44 seats on 14.53% of the vote, as predicted by early returns.

Three other parties will have significant representation in the National Assembly as well:

  • Former prime minister Vojislav Koštunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia will hold 21 seats on 7.00% of the vote.
  • The “Turnover” / “U-Turn” coalition of various parties, competing for the first time in 2012, will hold 19 seats on 6.52% of the vote.  The coalition features the Liberal Democratic Party, whose leader Čedomir Jovanović served as deputy prime minister briefly in 2003-04.
  • The United Regions of Serbia coalition, centered around the pro-decentralization, center-right G17 Plus party (whose leader Mlađan Dinkić has served as minister of finance and deputy prime minister in past coalition governments from 2004 to 2011), won 16 seats on 5.49% of the vote.

Dačić last week announced he would support a coalition government headed by the DS (and not the SNS), which makes it likely that Dačić could become prime minister.  Although the two parties hold 117 seats in the National Assembly, they will have to include other small parties, most likely the pro-business United Regions of Serbia group, in order to achieve a majority.

With SNS accusations of vote fraud swirling, and with protests of the prior vote taking place over the weekend, Nikolić announced that he would indeed take part in the May 20 runoff, rather than boycotting the vote.

Tadić, however, leads Nikolić by a margin of 58% to 42% in a poll released earlier this week, with relatively stronger support for Tadić by younger voters.

The candidates are scheduled to debate on Wednesday in advance of the Sunday’s vote.

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