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Voters in Serbia Vote for President on Sunday


Serb voters Sunday will choose from nine candidates running for a five-year term as president. VOA's Barry Wood reports from Belgrade that as nobody is expected to win a majority Sunday, a run-off between the top two finishers is likely to be held February 3.

Analysts expect that incumbent president Boris Tadic and Radical party leader Tomislav Nikolic will win the most votes. Opinion surveys indicate Mr. Nikolic has 21 percent support and Mr. Tadic 19 percent.

Prospective voters outside a super-market in New Belgrade Saturday voiced disparate views.

VOTER1: "President Tadic, I won't vote for him but I know he will win in the second round."

VOTER2: "I would be thrilled and very happy if someone pro-European oriented can win the elections, but I think that is impossible. Tadic will win, but I'm not satisfied with it."

VOTER3: "Nikolic, I don't know. My president is Boris Tadic."

VOTER4: "I think in the first round Nikolic will be first. But in second, Tadic has better support from the Serbs who live outside."

Serbs living outside the country - mostly in Britain, Germany and America - are eligible to vote for president.

The election is seen as a choice between radical nationalism, represented by Mr. Nikolic, and a more moderate pro-European orientation, espoused by Mr. Tadic. The major candidates oppose independence for Kosovo, the south Serbian province administered by the United Nations since 1999. Its 90 percent Albanian majority is expected to declare independence in the coming weeks.

Voter turnout in the first round is not expected to be much more than 50 percent. This is the first election to be held under Serbia's new constitution that went into effect after Montenegro severed its ties with Serbia in 2006.

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