Nikolić wins first round of Serbian presidential election

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Boris Tadić, current President of Serbia

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tomislav Nikolić has won the first round of the Serbian presidential election with nearly 40% of the vote, according to election officials. Incumbent Boris Tadić came in second with 35% of the votes. The two will face each other in a runoff election on February 3.

Coming in third was Velimir Ilić with about 7%, followed by Milutin Mrkonjić with about 6%.

Tadic, a member of the Democratic Party, has pro-Western attitudes and supports Serbian membership in the European Union. Nikolić, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, supports closer ties with Russia, Serbia's historical ally. Both candidates are against Kosovan independence, which has been a major issue in the election.

"One thing is certain: This will be the tightest election ever in Serbia and the winner won't be known until the last second," said Marko Blagojevic of Belgrade's Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, a vote monitoring group.

There was a record 61% voter turnout in the first round of the election.


According to the Republican Electoral Commission, after 98.68% votes counted: