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Live Blog 20 May 12

Serbia Elections 2012: Live Blog

Stay tuned for all the latest developments, election results and reactions as Serbia goes to the polls to elect a new president.

Bojana Barlovac, Marija Ristic, Gordana Andric
BIRN
Belgrade

23:25 There you have it. Tomislav Nikolic won, gave up his position as leader of the Progressive party and will be the new face of Serbia, at least abroad. Boris Tadic lost the presidential race, has no intention to leave the helm of the Democratic party and needs to figure out how his coalition will work with the newly elected president. Dacic, the leader of the Socialists and the kingmaker in the general elections says his party will stick to the deal it made with the Democrats to form a joint government.

Nikolic's surprising victory opens many questions: Who will be the new prime minister? Will the election defeat lead to any changes within the Democratic party? Are new surprises for parliament majority possible? Will Nikolic really turn Serbia to the vicious nationalism of the 1990s and  renew tensions in the region? And many, many more that will get answered in the days to come. Serbia's elections 2012 are now concluded. And so is this blog. Thank you for staying with us in the past 15 days. Good night and good luck!

22:49 Russian Ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Konuzin, said that Serbia-Russia relations have a secure future.

Celebrations on the streets of Belgrade, Photo by Beta

22:41 Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt: "Serbia under Nikolic must create confidence in its will to move towards Europe and partnership in the region."

22:24 Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialists, said that the election result will not change the coalition deal between to the Socialists and Democrats to form the  new government.

22:12 Tomislav Nikolic of the Progressives in another address said that he had a polite phone conversation with Boris Tadic of the Democrats.

"We [Tadic and Nikolic] will be friends again. There will be no enemies in Serbia but only opponents," Nikolic said.

22:05 Supporters of the Serbian Progressive party are celebrating in the centre of Belgrade, honking their horns and waving national flags.

22:00 According to the State Electoral Commission preliminary results voter turnout in Serbia was 46.6 per cent. Boris Tadic won 46.77 per cent while Tomislav Nikolic won 50.21 per cent of the votes, based on 40.67 per cent of the counted ballots.

21:53 Tadic: I have no regrets, I did my best.

Boris Tadic addressing after the first preliminary results, Photo by Beta

21:50 There was no electoral fraud in these elections. It is a pity that many voters decided not to come out, Tadic tells reporters.

21:49 The Democrats will now examine the "new circumstances", says Tadic.

21:44 Boris Tadic concedes. "I will not be prime minister". He congratulated Nikolic for the election victory.

Tomislav Nikolic declaring the victory, Photo by Beta

21:27 Tomislav Nikolic of the Progressives has thanked to all Serbian people for his victory.

"This is God's will. Serbia will keep the EU path but also protect Kosovo. Serbia is a modern country, I will cooperate with everyone and no one should be angry because I won," Nikolic said. He will no longer be the president of his party, as he promised if he gets elected.

21:23 All OSCE-run polling stations in Kosovo closed today after the orderly completion of voting, according to the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Werner Almhofer. The reported provisional turnout was 23.58 per cent.

“All polling stations opened on time and closed at 20:00 hrs. We had no technical problems during the day.”

The balloting materials are in the process of being packed and transported by the OSCE to Vranje and Raška for counting by the Serbian Election Commission.

21:20 According to the first preliminary results, 3.2 per cent of people have cast white ballots in Serbia and 3.6 per cent in Belgrade.

21:10 A big celebration is taking place at the Belgrade's headquarters of the Serbian Progressive Party.

21:07 Zoran Lucic from CeSID said "It has never happened that a sample of 70 per cent and that the result based on that is mistaken." 

21:00 Marko Blagojevic, from the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, said that Tomislav Nikolic has won on a sample of 70 per cent. He is leading for two per cent. Final preliminary results will be released in an hour. Blagojevic said that chances are slim for Tadic to take the lead.

20:57 Aleksandar Vucic, deputy president of the Progressives, said that its leader Tomislav Nikolic has won the elections.

"We have finally won. I congratulate to Serbia," Vucic told reporters.

20:35 According to CeSID, based on a sample of 25 per cent of the ballots, Tomislav Nikolic is leading with 50 per cent of the votes, ahead of Boris Tadic with 47.4 per cent. 

20:28 EU Council press office says on twitter that EU officials congratulating Nikolic the presidency "is a handling mistake in our news publisher. Official statement will follow later this evening."

20:17 Marko Blagojevic of CeSID does not expect voter turnout to exceed 45 per cent of the electorate.

20:04 According to CeSID 41.5  per cent of the total electorate in Serbia cast their ballots by 7pm. In central Serbia, the turnout by 7pm is 40.4 per cent, in Vojvodina 44.4 per cent and in Belgrade 40.2 per cent voters went to the polls .

20:00 Polls close in Serbia's presidential elections.

19:52 Before polls in Serbia have closed the EU has sent by mistake a joint statement by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on the election of Tomislav Nikolić as President of the Republic of Serbia. The statement was quickly removed.

19:35 The Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, will announce the first preliminary results by 9pm.

19:12 According to the State Electoral Commission, RIK, 36.83 per cent of the electorate in Serbia cast their ballots by 6pm. In central Serbia, the turnout by 6pm is 35.92 per cent, in Vojvodina, 38,78, and in Belgrade 36.09.

19:07 A fight broke out at a polling station in the southern Serbian city of Vranje between a group of Progressives' and Democrats' supporters. A Democrats' supporter has suffered light injuries. Police arrived to he spot immediately after.

18:53 Mayor of Lipljan in Kosovo, Zoran Spasic, said that a large number of voters in the municipality was not on the electoral roll. According to Spasic, in 11 villages and the town of Lipljan in northern Kosovo, the electoral roll for the 2008 elections had 7,170 names while this time it has only 5,100, which is about 2,000 voters less.

18:29 In Russia, some 45 per cent of the Serbian electorate casted ballots by 2pm. 

18:05 According to the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, 33 per cent of the electorate voted in Serbia by 5pm. 

17:58 Some disgruntled voters have decided to make fun of the elections. One said that Tadic should go away but Nikolic should not come.

17:35 In Vojvodina voter turnout by 3pm was 25.9 per cent, Jelena Zlojutro member of the regional election commission told Tanjug.

16:57 Serbian prisoners have also cast their ballots.

Photo by Beta

16:52 Two voters have physically attacked the president of the election committee at a polling station in Leskovac after he had tried to calm the quarell among voters waiting in a line to cast their ballots, local police have confirmed. 

16:16 Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister, said on his Twitter account: "I'll be keenly waiting for the results of the final round in the presidential election in Serbia today. Important for entire region."

15:30 OSCE spokesperson Nikola Gaon says voter turnout in Kosovo by 2pm is 11 per cent of the electorate.

15:00 According to the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, 23.3 per cent of the electorate voted in Serbia by 2pm.

By 2 pm, in central Serbia 21.4 per cent of the electorate voted, in Belgrade voter turnout was 23.7 per cent, while in Vojvodina 24 per cent cast their ballots. CeSID's Marko Blagojevic said that no major irregularities had occured.

Marko Blagojevic from CeSID, Photo by Beta

14:59 According to the State Electoral Commission, RIK, 23.19 per cent of voters cast their ballots by 2am. That is nine per cent less than in the first round. 

14:43 Police had to intervene in Prokuplje after two locals got in a fight at a polling station. Police reacted quickly and the voting has now resumed at the polling station.

14:34 Vojislav Kostunica, the leader of the Serbian Democratic Party, DSS, said that one of the reasons he had voted for Tomislav Nikolic was the election fraud which occured on May 6 general, local and presidential elections. 

"I am convinced that Tomislav Nikolic, if he wins, could provide with his authority an independent commission to re-count ballots and determine what exactly happened on May 6," Kostunica said after he cast a ballot. 

14:25 Patriarch Irinej, Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has called the Serbians to go to the polls today and vote as that is their civic duty.

"No one who avoids to vote has the right to later criticize anything or anyone," the patriarch said.

14:17 Ambassador Werner Almhofer, the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, has visited a polling station in the primary school Vuk Karadzic in Zvecan, northern Kosovo, and said that no irregularities have been reported so far. 

"This is a quiet day and that's exactly what we wanted... People come and vote and I hope it will continue as it is. We can say that this operation runs better than last time," Almhofer said.

Kosovo Serbs voting at a polling station in Zvecan, Photo by Beta

14:01 About 15 per cent of registered voters cast their ballots at the polling station at the Serbian Embassy in Podgorica until 12pm. Zoran Lutovac, the Serbian Ambassador to Podgorica, told Tanjug news agency that voting runs smoothly and that the polling stations will be opened until 8pm.

Besides Podgorica, Serbians in Montenegro can vote in the coastal town of Herceg Novi, Sutomore and Berane.

13:32 Because of irregularities, local elections are reheld in 16 places in Belgrade. Elections are held in four places in Palilula municipality, at three polling stations Stari Grad and Rakovica, at two in Savski Venac and at one each in Obrenovac, Zvezdara, New Belgrade and Grocka.

Photo by Beta

13:05 Boris Tadic of the Democrats is ahead of his rival, Tomislav Nikolic of the Progressives, when it comes to viral reputation. According to the Ebart Viral,  Tadic has 50.9 per cent and Nikolic 49.1 per cent.

Viral reputation is defined as the general estimation that the public online has for the candidate. Six key parametres which affect the viral probability include: The number of inbound links; Deep linking; Viewed pages; Text relevance in relation to a given keyword; Positive or negative context in relation to a given keyword; Time of publication.

12:34 Cedomir Jovanovic, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, expects for Boris Tadic to win the elections but is also willing to cooperate with Tomislav Nikolic.

 "I expect that Boris Tadic will win, I voted for him... I am also ready to cooperate with Nikolic, no matter whether he will win or not, but he represents a lot of voters in this country," Jovanovic said after he cast a ballot.

12:20 Mladjan Dinkic, the leader of the United Regions of Serbia, URS, said that his party supported Boris Tadic as the country needs the president who will continue to provide policy of peace, both in Serbia and the entire region, and who will lead the country towards the EU faster.

"The situation in Serbia is very difficult, and the next period will be very challenging and it is therefore very important to pay a special attention to all [the country's] regions, to take a balanced policy of regional development," Dinkic said after he cast a ballot.

12:05 Dragan Djilas, deputy president of the Democrats, said he was confident in the victory of Boris Tadic.

"Serbia is choosing its future today. The one elected today will determine the path the country will take for the next five years," Djilas said after he cast his ballot in the Vracar municipality of Belgrade.

11:34 Boris Tadic, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, DS, said that people are choosing the future of Serbia for the next five years.

"No game is over until a referee says is over and therefore it is important that citizens go out to vote and confirm the democratic character and capacity of the society," Tadic said after he cast his ballot.

Democrats' Boris Tadic casting a ballot, Photo by Beta

11:30 According to the State Electoral Commission 8.37 per cent of voters cast their ballots by 10am. The highest voter turnout is registered in Vojvodina, 10.2 per cent.

In central Serbia, 7.57 per cent voted by 10am while in Belgrade 7.71 per cent of the electorate voted.

In comparison, on May 6, by 10am 11.04 per cent of voters went to the polls.

11:15 Ivica Dacic, president of the Socialists, said that the talks on the government should start tomorrow so that the parliament can start its work as soon as possible.

"This is important because we are facing big tasks when it comes to the social and economic situation, state and national issues, because this vacuum is damaging our state and national interests," said Dacic.

11: 00 Presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolic said he expected to win and that he hopes the elections will be fair. He added that his party will monitor all polling stations.

"We will not allow any fraud or theft. Serbia does not deserve to get a president that would be tainted by doubts of theft," Nikolic told reporters after he voted in Belgrade.

Nikolic said he is convinced that he is the best candidate for the president post but that the decision is in the hands of the people of Serbia.

Progressives' Tomislav Nikolic has cast a ballot with his wife, Photo by Beta

10:24 About 4.9 per cent of people have casted their ballots until 9am, according to the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID. The figure is 1.7 per cent less when compared to May 6 elections. 

9:55 All 90 polling stations in the OSCE-run balloting facilitation in Kosovo were open today by 07.15 hrs.

“I am pleased to report the timely opening of all our polling stations this morning,” said the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Werner Almhofer.
 
The OSCE-run balloting facilitation is enabling eligible voters in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in the second round of the election for president of Serbia.

07:12 Polls opened on Sunday at 7am across Serbia for voters to ballot in the second round of Serbia's presidential elections.

A total of 6,770,013 voters are eligible to vote at 8,390 polling stations in the country and abroad until 8pm.

Scroll down to see the main events in the past 14 days and the coverage of the May 6 elections or visit our special page Serbia Elections 2012.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

19:58 At the polling places in New York until 13:00 only 19 people have voted out of 156 registred, reports the state agency Tanjug. 

Besides the U.S., Serbian citizens are voting in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Serbian citizens living in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Cyprus, Libya, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Republic of South Africa, Romania, Russia, Germany, Slovenia, France, Netherlands, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic and Switzerland will vote on Sunday.

16:53 Everything is ready for the Sunday’s second round of the Serbian presidential elections in Kosovo, said Nikola Gaon, spokesperson of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo to Belgrade news agency Beta.

“The elections will take place in 17 locations and in 90 polling places,” he added.

15:34 The Republic Election Committee has requested from the state prosecution to inform them about progress made in the investigation on the alleged election fraud.

Previously, in the Serbian Prosecutor's office stated that twenty sacks full of ballot papers went missing after May 6 elections - but there was no election fraud, "because these ballots were taken after they were counted".

14: 15 Due to the second round of presidential elections in Kosovo, Kosovo police will have a larger number of units on the ground, especially in North Kosovo, according to Besim Hoti, the Kosovo Police spokesperson for northern Kosovo.

“We will have almost the same plan as we did on May 6. Together with KFOR and EULEX, we will oversee the entire process in terms of public safety. Increased police presence will be in mixed environments and near the polling places in order to preserve public order," said Hoti.

The voting in Kosovo will take place in 17 municipalities and in 90 polling places. According to the OSCE, approximately 109,000 people are eligible to vote in Sunday’s elections.

14: 09 Serbian analysts called on citizens to vote in the upcoming second round of presidential elections.

"Even when it seems it doesn’t make sense, that our political elite do not hear and that we do not have enough good choices – we should go out and vote, because our vote has no alternative," said professor of the Faculty of Political Sciences, Zoran Stojiljkovic.

Vladimir Goati, director of the Belgrade office of Transparency International, agrees that citizens should not miss voting since it is their duty.

“You have to vote and show your stance. If you do not vote, then you do not have the right to complain about the government,” said Goati.

12:37 The Republic Election Committee has distributed mandates to the 250 representatives of the political parties for the new parliament, according to the lists submitted by the political parties prior to the elections.

It is uncertain, however, who will sit in the Assembly, since each member may resign and be replaced with someone from the list.

 "I expect there will be a lot of resignations and that the number of those now entering the final composition of the Parliament Assembly will change to 30 percent,” Djordje Vukovic from the Center for Free Elections and Democracy told the Belgrade daily Blic.

The coalition lead by the Progressive Party won 73 parliamentary seats after the elections held on May 6, followed by a coalition led by the Democratic Party, who won 67 mandates.

The Serbian Socialist Party won the third most seats with 44 mandates, fourth is the Democratic Party of Serbia with 21 seats, and finally, the coalition lead by the Liberal Democratic Party received 19 mandates.

The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians won five seats in the new parliament, Democratic Action of Sandzak won two seats, while “All together,” “None of the offered answers” and the Coalition of Albanians from Presevo Valley each received one seat.

The Parliament of Serbia | Photo by Beta

12:02 Along with the second round of the presidential elections where the citizens of Serbia will choose between the Democratic Party candidate, Boris Tadic, and the Progressive Party candidate, Tomislav Nikolic, there will be a repeat of local elections in 16 Belgrade municipalities.

In the Serbian province of Vojvodina, the second round of provincial elections will occur alongside the presidential elections.

A total of 1,735,000 citizens have the right to vote in the 1,787 polling places located in Vojvodina.

10:59 Serbian citizens living in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom are voting today in the second round of presidential elections. Serbian citizens in other countries will vote on Sunday, the same day as Serbia.

For the voting abroad, 38 polling places will be open in 22 countries from seven until 20:00 local time.

10:41 The new Serbian government needs to be formed by September 5, while the new parliament must hold its first session by June 9 at latest.

This parliament will have the largest number of parties in the modern Serbian history, since 46 political parties entered the parliament after the elections held on May 6.  This is half of the 89 registered political parties in Serbia.

Friday, May 18, 2012

15:53 According to a latest poll conducted by Ipsos Strategic Marketing, Boris Tadic will get 58 per cent of votes, while the Progressives's Nikolic will win 42 per cent.

12:06 Media coverage of the election campaign in Serbia was characterized by self-censorship, with 80 per cent of radio and TV reports on the election reading positively for political parties and their leaders without any degree of critical analysis, the participants of a May 17 conference devoted to media coverage organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, said.

School of Political Science professor Miroljub Radojkovic, who observed the election, called it paradoxical that the campaign for the May 6 elections was six times shorter than the 2008 campaign, yet six times costlier.

11:31 Emir Elfic's Bosniac Democratic Community stated that neither Tadic nor Nikolic had done anything to improve the lives of the Bosniak community, hence the Community could recommend neither candidate.

10:47 Representatives of the Serbian Radical Party and of the Bosniac Democratic Community have announced that they supported neither Democratic Party presidential candidate Boris Tadic nor Serbian Progressive Party candidate Tomislav Nikolic in the May 20 runoff.

Nemanja Sarovic, an official of the Serbian Radical Party, said that Tadic and Nikolic had identical policies to offer Serbia which consisted of catering to "an endless list of conditions" from the EU.

10:41 Serbian Progressive Party, SNS, has announced that the election silence has been already violated with national broadcaster B92 broadcasting the reprise of TV programme 'Izmedju dve vatre', which was "aimed at advertising the former Serbian President Boris Tadic and his Democratic Party."

10:20 The campaigning for the second round of presidential elections in Serbia - to be held on May 20 - ended at midnight on Thursday. The silence will stay in effect until polls close at 20:00 on Sunday.

Boris Tadic at a convention in Belgrade's Arena, Photo by Beta

10:12 Boris Tadic has promised that if he wins the election, Serbia will profit from high economic growth, albeit "not everything will be as in a fairy tale" and that some tough measures would have to be taken.

"New challenges lie ahead of us and it would be unfair to say that everything will go smoothly, yet we have the courage to take tough measures," Tadic said at a final party electoral convention in a jampacked Arena in Belgrade on Thursday evening.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


18:23 The Serbian Progressive Party stated that the May 20th presidential elections for Serbia are a “referendum on whether Serbia will become a normal country or will remain a country under control of the Democratic Party.”

18:13 Boris Tadic, presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, is holding his final convention at the Belgrade Arena. Live streaming is available at http://www.ds.org.rs/multimedija/direktni-prenosi

15:48 Aleksandra Jerkov, spokesperson of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, LSV, called on her party's voters to opt for Democratic Party candidate Boris Tadic in the second round of the presidential election.

13:57 Istvan Pastor, president of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, SVM, has said that his alliance and the Democarts have agreed to remain “strategic partners” in national, provincial and local governments. SVM secured five seats in the Serbian parliament at this month’s elections.

13: 27 A spokesman for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo says that the second round of Serbian presidential elections in Kosovo will be conducted under the same standards as the first round of voting.

Election material for the second round has arrived in Kosovo.  The voting will take place in 17 municipalities and in 90 polling places.

According to the OSCE, approximately 109,000 people are eligible to vote in Sunday’s elections.

13:16 Political analysts agree that the Democratic candidate, Boris Tadic, "won" the televised debate between the presidential candidates on Wednesday.

Analyst Dejan Vuk Stankovic said that Tadic was better, but that it would not determine who would win the presidential elections.

“I think at this point Tadic made a particular advantage over Nikolic, because he was more accurate, specific and informative, but the advantage is certainly not one that will decide this election,” said Stankovic.

Sociologist Vladimir Vuletic said that the presidential candidate Boris Tadic "won" the debate against Tomislav Nikolic because he presented himself as a man who brings stability and certainty to Serbia.  Conversely, Nikolic did not have answers to most of the questions.

12:54 Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, current president of the Serbian parliament and vice president of the Socialist Party of Serbia, SPS, says that her party expects to have more ministries in the newly formed government.

She said that the best candidate for the position of prime minister is the current president of the Socialist Party, Ivica Dacic, but added that the prime minister can also come from the Democrats.

Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, vice president of the Socialist Party of Serbia | Photo by Beta

12:41 The campaigning for the second round of presidential elections ends midnight on Thursday. The election silence will commence and stay in effect until polls close at 20:00 pm on Sunday.

In this period, there is a ban on campaigning in the media, public rallies and publishing election results estimates.

12:36 According to the Belgrade based daily Blic, the newly elected president of France, Francois Hollande, has supported Boris Tadic, the presidential candidate of the Serbian Democrats.

The daily writes that as a sign of France’s open support for Tadic, Alain Richard, a member of the French socialist party, is coming to Belgrade on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

21:27 Nikolic: You know what is the truth and what are lies. I am sick and tired to talk about Tadic's lies. As for my promises those are truthful, Serbia must change. You can no longer be hostages of Tadic and his tycoons. Punish Tadic for the false promises, because you live worse than before 4 years, vote for democracy.

Tadic: 20 May is a holiday for democracy. We need to chose development and progress. I will not insult my opponent nor call for punishing anyone. The only path for Serbia is the EU, investments. I am prepared to use all means in foreign relations for development of this country.

Boris Tadic, candidate of the Democrats and Tomislav Nikolic, presidential candidate of the Progressives I Photo by Beta

21:17 Tadic: Today we are the EU candidate country and we'll get a date for accession talks. EU is the future of Serbia. EU is guarantee for investments from those countries. We are not going to the EU for the EU but for the citizens of Serbia because the EU is the biggest peace project and we want permanent peace in the region.

Nikolic: I was expelled from a party because I wanted for Serbia to join the EU. How dare you are to lie that I am not for the EU. I am just against Kosovo's independence.

21:06 Nikolic: Tadic has been the president for eight years, minister for 11 and prime minister for four years. This is why he is the one to be blamed for the current tragic situation.

Tadic: We have provided 6,500 of scholarships, 5,000 apartments for best students and scholars. We will continue this and prevent the brain drain and provide opportunities for them to stay in Serbia.

21:00 Tadic: Serbia has got the highest international recognitions for the fight against terrorism. We have an army which is the second strongest in the region behind Romania. Mother can sleep calm as long as we have this policy.

Nikolic: Serbia was more safe under Slavica Djukic Dejanovic as the acting head of the state. Serbia does not need strong army but strong economy.

20:50 Nikolic: The president should not be president of the country and the party. Corruption is priviledge of the ruling party. People that are not party members can not get jobs. Which affair has been resolved and not just covered up? Tadic is surrounded by criminals.

Tadic: One of the biggest criminals in the country is your coalition partner. I have no problem that all the relevant institutions should check my assets. But you didnt vote for any of those instituions or legislation. We will continue to fight corruption and organised crime and in the region we have achieved the best results in this field.

20:37 Tadic: We have opened new 200,000 jobs but 400,000 jobs were lost due to the financial crisis. This is the most important issue for us. We have done a lot to protect jobs in different companies. We have brought in investors, have invested a lot in highways, bridges.

Nikolic: We can not move forward without economic development. I wanted to hear whether the DS wants to stop corruption bribes on all levels that investors are free to come here and invest and not be asked to give bribes. Serbia is on the bottom of the list of economic development in the region by average salary and unemployment.

20:29 Nikolic: Kosovo and Metohija is part of Serbia and I am repeating this for Boris Tadic who might have not seen this in the preambule of the Serbia constitution.It will remain the Serbian territory until we breathe.

Tadic: I have never recognised Kosovo and will never recognise it. The only way to keep Kosovo is to fight with peacefull means and that is what we are doing. I demand you answer whether he has changed his policy on the EU.

20:24 Tadic: Serbia has not had such foreign relations in decades. We have defined our path towards the EU and that shoudn't be changed as it could be dangerous. This however does not mean that we are not keeping good relations with other countries in the world. On the contrairy.

Nikolic: Serbian foreign policy depends on Serbian economy. Serbia must work with the entire world, with the west but also with the east, south and north.

20:20 While Tadic attacked Nikolic for receiving support from Voislav Kostunica who advocates neutrality for the EU, Nikolic responded attacking Tadic's alliance with the Liberals who are saying that Kosovo is independent and Republika Srpska is a genocidal formation.

20:16 Nikolic: I cannot leave Serbia in the hands of these people. I want to defend our sacred Serbia because 13-year reign of Boris Tadic was too much. Punish the democratic party!

Tadic: Serbia must know which road it will take and that is what these elections are about.

20:10 TV Duel between Serbian presidential candidates Nikolic and Tadic starts. Candidates will discuss eight topics in 90 minutes.

17:10 South East Europe Media Organisation, SEEMO, stated that the new Serbian president should guarantee media freedom as one of the pillars of democracy.

17:08 The Democratic Party of Serbia supported Tomislav Nikolic, presidential candidate of the Serbian Progressive Party, in the second round of presidential elections.

16:55 Boris Tadic, the Democrats’ candidate for the presidency, got support from two European Parliament officials, Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament and Hannes Swoboda, head of the parliamentary group of Social Democrats in the European Parliament.

16:45 The Social Democratic Union, SDU, decided to support Boris Tadic, presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, in the second round of presidential elections scheduled for May 20.

11:59 The Republic Electoral Commission, RIK, rejected a proposal to change the electoral committees in all voting places in the second round of presidential elections. Both Democrats and Progressives proposed that the electoral committees should be changed. RIK explained that the laws and rules could not be changed “on the fly.”

Veljko Odalovic, RIK’s secretary, said that the commission has not received applications for new observers at the voting locations.  For individuals who decide to apply, RIK “will do everything to allow them to monitor elections.”

11:04 The campaign for Serbia's presidential elections ends at midnight on Thursday. The pre-election silence lasts until Sunday night, after the polls close.

11:02  Presidential candidates Boris Tadic from Democratic Party and Tomislav Nikolic from Serbian Progressive Party will confront their policies in a televised debate on Wednesday evening.

In an hour and a half they will discuss Serbia’s future, Kosovo, business and investments plans, defense and security and Serbia's integration in the EU. Although previously planned, there will be no audience in the studio.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

16:08 Serbian Renewal Movement, SPO, has called on all members and supporters to turn out on Sunday and vote for Boris Tadic.

The party took part in May 6 elections as part of the coalition led by Liberal Democratic Party, LDP.

15:47 Boris Tadic, Democrats' candidate for the second round of presidential polls, is beating his rival, Tomislav Nikolic of the Progressives, according to the Ebart Viral.

Viral reputation is defined as the general estimation that the public online has for the candidate. Six key parametres which affect the viral probability include: The number of inbound links; Deep linking; Viewed pages; Text relevance in relation to a given keyword; Positive or negative context in relation to a given keyword; Time of publication.

13:58 Serbian betting shops are giving up bets as everyone is putting money on Boris Tadic of the Democratic Party.

13:01 Socialists and Democrats have agreed to form Belgrade government. In other major cities - Nis, Kragujevac and Novi Sad - negotiations between political parties are still ongoing.

12:27 Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialists, has said that it was "normal" for him to support Democrats' leader Boris Tadic in the second round of the Serbian presidential elections. Last week, Socalists and Democrats agreed to form a new government.

12:16 The election silence will start at midnight Thursday, May 17, and remain in effect until polls close at 20:00 local time on Sunday.

11:53  Although local elections in Serbia did not get as much attention as presidential and general ones, voting results have showed that voters understand that improving their economic situation primarily depends on who will lead the local assembly and have therefore in many municipalities remained loyal to local politicians who have done a good job, National Alliance for Local Economic development, NALED, said in a statement.

Belgrade at night, Photo by Beta

11:34 The Refugee association Pravda has called on refugees in Serbia to vote for Boris Tadic of the Democrats in the second round of presidential polls. 

11:22 The names of new MPs in the Serbian parliament will be known no later than May 20. The constitutive session of the parliament is supposed to be held on June 5. The MPs will be from eleven electoral lists, representing the views of as many as 40 political parties.

10:53 Boris Tadic, the leader of the Democrats, said that "the false climate of fear is being created ahead of the second round of the elections".

"This should discourage citizens from voting, and I call on citizens to go to polls so that Serbia would defend itself from the climate of violence as was the case in the past," Tadic said.

Monday, May 14, 2012

18:16 The Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, has announced that there was an election fraud but not of the results, but of the election material.

"We thought from the beginning that this will be the final epilogue. Objectively speaking, there was no element or evidence that the theft has occurred," Djordje Vukovic from CeSID said.

16:35 Progressive party has refused Balkan Insight's request for an interview regarding the alleged election fraud.

"Currently there are no conditions to organize such an interview, we will get back to you as soon as all the conditions are fullfilled," Vladanka Malovic, spokespeson for the election campaign of the Progressives, told Balkan Insight.

Tomislav Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic complaining on the election fraud, Photo by Beta

16:01 The Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, has called for establishment of an independent commission that would recount all the votes, the party's spokesman Petar Petkovic said on Monday.

He added that the state electoral commission and the government "do not want to set up the independent commission to recount the ballots and confirm whether election theft occured".

15:44 The Democratic Party has called on the OSCE observer mission and the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, to increase control of the electoral process and provide more observers at polling stations for the second round of presidential polls.

15:31 Tomislav Nikolic of the Progressives said that he will physically defend every vote in the presidential polls "if the fraud happens again".

15:24 Serbian Progressive Party has announced that the Prosecutor's office has become a tool in the hands of the ruling Democrats.

14:13 Serbian Prosecutor's office: Twenty sacks full of ballot papers went missing after May 6 elections - but there was no election fraud, "because these ballots were taken after they were counted".

Progressives rally in Belgrade, Photo by Beta

13:42 Serbian Progressive Party will have polling agents inside polling stations for the second round of presidential elections on May 20.

The Progressives would also have up to 50 people outside, that every voter that entered would be counted and every Progressives' member would stay until votes were counted.

12:34 Ivica Dacic, the outgoing interior minister, said that an investigation was underway into the allegations made by the Serbian progressive Party, SNS, about elections theft.

Dacic said the investigation would determine whether there had been any organised activity aimed at fixing election results at certain polling places or certain oversights had taken place in the election process.

11:56 Dragan Sutanovac, the defence minister in the outgoing government, has accused the Progressives of "planning to create chaos in the country":

"When you have a plan in place and when you organize yourself, it's enough to put one ballot in your pocket in 8,400 polling stations, and create election theft," he said in reaction to accusations of election day fraud.

11:22 Tomislav Nikolic, the leader of the Progressives said that he intended to participate in the presidential runoff on May 20, adding that in the event that he won, he would demand that the May 6 general elections be thoroughly looked into.

"I will not give up because of all those young people who are protesting electoral fraud. For these young people, I will fight until the end. I will not allow a corrupt party to remain in power. After my victory on May 20, I will demand a thorough investigation into everything that took place during the May 6 elections, because the citizens need to know the truth and
justice must be served," Nikolic said.

10:47 Democratic Party presidential candidate Boris Tadic said on May 13 that announcements of protest rallies over alleged electoral fraud were designed to question the legitimacy of elections and humiliate Serbia in the eyes of the international community.

"If we, here in Serbia, send out the image of a disorganized country which has institutions that do not solve problems and go back to the time when everything was solved in an atmosphere of violence, then this is very bad," Tadic said.

10:15 Serbian Progressive Party sympathizers and officials held protest drives through several Serbian cities on Sunday, denouncing the May 6 election as irregular.



According to Progressive Party deputy president Aleksandar Vucic, in Belgrade, a motorcade with 1,500 vehicles passed through the streets of Belgrade.

Friday, May 11, 2012

17:14 Miodrag Petrovic, spokesman of the Republic Election Committee, RIK, stated that claims of election fraud needed to be backed by strong evidence.

"The evidence must be presented in a valid and legally prescribed form. Where we find that objections are established, we will repeat elections at certain polling places,” Petrovic told Beta News Agency.

17:13  One by one the Serbian political parties that fared poorly in the May 6 elections have started complaining about the election process.  Democrats have dismissed the accusations.

“They now wish to ascribe to us everything that was fit for them to do; in psychology, that's called projection,” said Boris Tadic, leader of the Democrats.

17:05  More than 60 per cent of Serbs believe that Boris Tadic, leader of the Democratic Party, will again be head of the state. Only every fifth of respondents believe that Tadic's rival, Tomislav Nikolic of the Progressives, will be elected president while 14 per cent said they did not know who will be the new president. This is according to a survey conducted by B92 and Ipsos Strategic Marketing on a sample of 1,002 respondents.

16:32 Transparency Serbia said that political parties have spent much more on the campaign than they reported. According to their research, coalition lead by the Democratic Party spent about €7.9 million on TV and newspaper advertising and billboards, United Regions of Serbia spent €5.8 million, while Progressives spent about €3.5 million.

13:01 The leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia, Ivica Dacic said that he does not believe that election fraud took place, since there were a large number of people monitoring elections on the polling places.

“I believe that Nikolic just want his ratings to go higher for the upcoming second round of presidential elections,” said Dacic.

12:37 The Serbian Progressive Party filed criminal charges against unknown persons for election fraud.

“The authorities will then decide whether we had real elections or a farce organized by Boris Tadic,” said Tomislav Nikolic, president of the Progressives.

He said that they have informed the OSCE, the Russian Embassy and the EU Delegation in Serbia about their findings, adding that he will meet US Ambassador Mary Warlick on Monday to discuss this issues.

Election ballots found in the garbage containers by the Progressives I Photo by Beta

 

11: 36 The new government should not have more than 15 ministries, Belgrade based daily newspaper Vecernje novosti writes.

According to the daily, leaders of the coalition gathered around Democratic Party and the Socialist Party coalition agreed on the number of ministries at the meeting held on Wednesday.

The daily added that a new distribution of ministries would be discussed immediately after the second round of the presidential elections which will be held on May 20.

11:25 The Republic Electoral Commission  must assign seats to the candidates that won seats in the new Parliament of Serbia by 20 May.

Eleven coalition lists that competed in the elections won seats in parliament, five of them were from minority parties.

10:50 Dragan Djilas, vice president of the Democratic Party and candidate for the mayor of Belgrade, said to daily newspaper Blic that the result he achieved on local elections in Belgrade are qualifying him to run for other positions, but adding that he does not perceive himself as a prime minister.

“The people of Belgrade have voted for me as a mayor and gave me 36 % of the votes. I have responsibility towards these people. I want to continue my work in Belgrade,“ said Djilas.

10:31 The Republic Election Committee has announced the final results of the 6th May elections.

Parliamentary elections-  a coalition lead by the Progressive Party won 73 seats, followed by a coalition led by the Democratic Party, who won 67 mandates.

Coming in third is the Serbian Socialist Party who won 44 mandates, fourth is the Democratic Party of Serbia with 21 seats, and finally, the coalition lead by Liberal Democratic Party received 19 mandates.

The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians won five seats in the new parliament, Democratic Action of Sandzak won two seats, while the lists “ All together”, “None of the offered answers” and  Coalition of Albanians from Presevo Valley got one seat each.

Presidential elections- Boris Tadic, president of the Democratic Party won 25,31% , while Tomislav Nikolic, from the Progressives won 25,05 %. Tadic and Nikolic entered the second round of presidential elections, which is scheduled for May 20.

Candidate of the Socialist party Ivica Dacic won 14,23%, Vojislav Kostunica, president of the Democratic Party of Serbia 7,44%, Zoran Stankovic, candidate of the United Regions of Serbia won 6, 58%, while Cedomir Jovanovic, president of the Liberal Democratic Party got  5,03% support.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

18:11 The European Union will take into account Boris Tadic’s plan for Kosovo, if the Democratic Party forms the new government in Belgrade, the EU ambassador to Serbia said. 

“The EU will not impose solutions, it is up to Pristina and Belgrade to find it through the dialogue. We have greeted Tadic initiative and we will discuss it after the elections, if the Democrats stay in power," ambassador Vincent Degert said.

18: 00 Representative of the OSCE / ODIHR who are tasked with monitoring the elections in Serbia, said that they are following the situation closely. For now, they have nothing to add except that the elections were open and competitive.

 "We have already issued a statement regarding the first round of elections on Monday. We do not have anything to add to it. We are following developments, are still in the country and will monitor the second round,” said Rasto Kuzzel, the deputy head of the election observing mission for the OSCE / ODIHR. 

17:26 More and more political parties are complaining about the election process that occurred on May 6.

The most recent complaint came from the leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia, Vojislav Kostunica, who said that ballots found on the street damages Serbian democracy.

Previously, the Liberal Democratic Party complained about the irregularity of the provincial elections held in Vojvodina.

The Serbian Progressives held a press conference today where they showed a sack full of voting ballots found in garbage containers.

Serbian Progressives at today's press conference, where they showed evidences of election fraud. I Photo by SPP

16: 55 Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, has won the local elections in north Kosovo municipalities Zubin Potok and Zvecan, the Republic Election Committee has announced.

16:41 Miodrag Petrovic, spokesman of the Republic Election Committee, RIK, stated that all who claim election fraud occurred, must present strong evidence.

 "The evidence must be presented in a valid and legally prescribed form. Where we find that the objections are established, we will repeat elections at certain polling places,” Petrovic told Beta News Agency.

16:20 The Party of European Socialists (PES) has supported Boris Tadic, president of the Democratic Party, in the second round of presidential elections in Serbia. The PES believes Tadic is "the only candidate who can lead Serbia in the upcoming years."

The party stressed that under Tadic’s leadership, Serbia “has made great progress by becoming a candidate for the European Union."

15: 30 The Serbian Radical Party will not support any of the presidential candidates for the second round of elections, which are scheduled for May 20.

After 20 years, the Serbian Radicals, led by Vojislav Seselj a war crime’s defendant, lost their seats in parliament. 

“We will not support candidates who, in our opinion, offer the same solutions. I am convinced that Nikolić is a significantly worse solution than Tadic," said Sarovic, The Vice President of the Radicals.

14 : 56 The President of the Serbian Progressive Party, Tomislav Nikolic, said that the election results should be annulled and that the Democratic Party should not participate in any upcoming elections because they were caught red-handed.

“We caught them stealing and we will prove that we should have won with 15 % of the difference,” said Nikolic.

Tomislav Nikolic, President of the Serbian Progressive Party I Photo by Beta 

14:36 Belgrade based media B92 has learned that Mayor Dragan Djilas does not want to accept the prime minister's role in the new government. 

Previously, leaders of the Democrats and Socialists, allies in the last government, have agreed that Dragan Djilas, the outgoing mayor of Belgrade, should become prime minister of a new coalition government, a senior Democratic party source told Balkan Insight.

14:30 According to the latest election results from the Republic Election Committee, the Liberal Democratic Party won 19 seats, while the Coalition of Albanians of Presevo Valley won one seat in the new parliament.

14:00 The Belgrade City Commission for Elections adopted the objections submitted by the Liberal Democratic Party, related to elections irregularities at the polling places in City of Belgrade.The Commission nullified the results from 16 polling places in Belgrade.

11: 46 Marko Blagojevic, from the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, said that the elections frauds are possible, but unlikely since representatives from all parties were present to monitor the voting process at each polling place.

“Each system has holes and the only question is whether there is someone who is willing to abuse those holes,” said Blagojevic.

11:22 The director of the government’s EU Integration Office, Milica Delevic said that the new government should be formed as soon as possible, so that reforms requested by the EU could be done promptly.

11: 00 Democrats say that the claims of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians that election fraud took place are not credible.

“These allegations sound like science fictions, since all party representatives were present at the polling places," said Bojan Pajtic, vice president of Democratic Party.

The League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina agrees with Democrats, requesting an apology from the Alliance’s leader Istvan Pastor.

10: 41 Serbian far right movement Dveri will hold a protest rally tomorrow in Belgrade, since they believe there were irregularities in counting votes.  Dveri won around 4%, but they did not gain any seats in the new parliament.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

18:47 The Serbian Progressive Party has “material evidence” of electoral fraud that will be presented to the public, said Aleksandar Vucic, vice president of the Progressives.

„It will be very interesting to see how the authorities will explain this,” said Vucic.

 18:09 Both Tomislav Nikolic from the Serbian Progressive Party and Istvan Pastor from the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians stated that there were irregularities in counting votes for all levels of power and announced they will demand a review of election results for presidential, general, local and provincial elections.

18:01 Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia, said that his priority is to continue working as the Interior Minister and that Socialist and Democrats did not discuss who might be the next prime minister.  

However, Dacic also pointed out that Mirko Cvetkovic, the current prime minister, has also headed the Ministry of Finance since the government‘s reshuffle in March 2011.

16:16 The Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, announced it will start coalition talks on forming the new government after presidential elections. LDP stated it will not join with a government whose main goal is to have a majority in the parliament. The party stated it will only join a government in which they will be able to fulfil what they promised before the elections.

16:05 Leaders of the Democrats and Socialists, allies in the last government, have agreed that Dragan Djilas, the outgoing mayor of Belgrade, should become prime minister of a new coalition government, a senior Democratic party source told Balkan Insight.

Dragan Djilas at the Democratic Party rally. | Photo by Beta

15:31 Vojislav Kostunica, leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia, said that in the letter he sent to Candidate Tomislav Nikolic on May 8, he told Nikolic that future president of Serbia must publicly support the idea that the Serbian parliament should declare political neutrality.

The Democratic Party of Serbia won 7 per cent of votes in general elections.

15:26 Dragan Sutanovac, vice president of the Democratic Party said that their coalition partners, Socialists Party of Serbia, did not ask for the prime minister’s seat. He said that it is logical that Democrats, as the biggest party in the coalition, name the prime minister, but added that it can be matter of agreement with coalition partners, if they have good candidates.

Sutanovac also said that Democrats will talk about a possible government coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party and the United Regions of Serbia.

14:57 The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, will organise and facilitate balloting for the second round of presidential elections by Serbs in Kosovo who have dual nationality, as it did for May 6 elections.

The presidential elections in Kosovo will be held in 90 polling stations, while the counting of the votes will be held in Vranje and Raska in Serbia.

14:33 Miodrag Linta, the president of the Coalition of refugee associations, called refugees to vote for Tomislav Nikolic, the Progressive’s presidential candidate in the second round of presidential elections. Linta was one of the Progressive’s candidates for deputy in the general elections.

13:49 Tomislav Nikolic, presidential candidate of the Serbian Progressive Party, said he will meet Vojislav Kostunica, leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, to discuss whether DSS will support him in the second round of presidential elections.

Some of the founders of the Socialists Party of Serbia in the nineties, such as Zoran Bingulac, Rajko Lucanin and Aleksa Jokic, supported Nikolic’s the candidacy for the seat of Serbian president.

 

Tomislav Nikilic with some of the founders of the Socialist Party of Serbia. | Photo by Serbian Progressive Party

13:30 Tomislav Nikolic, presidential candidate of the Serbian Progressive Party, called on voters of the Socialist Party of Serbia to vote for him in the second round of presidential elections scheduled for May 20. Nikolic also said he has information that will “turn around” the campaign for presidential elections. This information will be published in the next couple days.

"When I’m talking like this, it means that I have something in my hands and you will see what happened on Sunday's elections,” he said.

13:29 Aleksandar Sapic, President of the Belgrade Committee of the Democratic Party that won 50 seats in the Belgrade assembly, said that the talks on forming a government in Belgrade will not start before the second round of presidential elections.

“We have enough time, with our coalition partners we can reach an agreement in five minutes,” said Sapic.

Nevena Adzemovic from the New Serbia party [coalition partner of the Serbian Progressive Party] might be a deputy in Serbian parliament. | YouTube print screen

13: 00 The list of new deputies in the Serbian parliament must be finalised by May 20. This will be the first time that parties will have to award mandates according to the order of the names on the lists they submitted before the elections.

According to those lists, some of the new deputies might be Ruzica Djindjic, widow of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, journalist Zaharije Trnavcevic, singer and model Nevena Adzemovic, model Ivan Bauer and NGO activist Miljenko Dereta.

12:32 Dragan Markovic Palma, leader of the United Serbia [coalition partner of the Socialist Party of Serbia] said that potential partners of Socialists and Democrats in the new government are the United Regions of Serbia and the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians.

He added that the Liberal Democratic Party would “have to change a lot of things” if it wants to be part of the new government.

11.44 The Democratic Party, DS, and a coalition led by the Socialist Party of Serbia, SPS, will continue working together and form a parliamentary majority in the Republic Parliament, Belgrade and Vojvodina, announced DS.

Talks about the composition of the new government will be held after the presidential elections.

Democrats also announced their candidate for presidential elections, Boris Tadic, enjoys Socialists support for the second round of presidential elections.

Borist Tadic, leader of the Democratic Party and Dragan Markovic Palma from the United Serbia party [coalition partner of the Socialists] at the rally in Jagodina on Tuesday, May 8. | Photo by Beta

11.32 Belgrade-based daily Blic reported that the Democratic Party, Socialist Party of Serbia and Liberal Democratic Party have already launched coalition negotiations to form a new government.

According to Blic, socialist demand to head the ministries that have been run by United Regions of Serbia in the previous government – ministries of economy, youth and sport, culture and health, along with the ministries they already held – police, infrastructure and energy. Liberals want to head the Foreign Ministry.

11.28 The Serbian Progressive Party will hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide which parties they will consider for coalition discussions for forming the new government.

11:07 The deadline for the Republic Election Committee to announce official final results for the general and presidential elections expires at 8pm on May 10. The first session of new parliament must be held within 30 days of the announcement.

10:50 New Serbia decided to support Tomislav Nikolic, presidential candidate of the Serbian Progressive Party in the second round of Presidential elections scheduled for May 20. New Serbia competed in general elections in a coalition with the Progressives.

10:48 Presidential candidates Boris Tadic and Tomislav Nikolic will confront each other platforms in a televised debate on May 16, on public broadcaster RTS.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

17:17 Serbia broadcaster B92 has learned that Tomislav Nikolic, Progressives’ presidential candidate, will resign as party president if he becomes president of Serbia. Nikolic will submit the sealed envelope with his resignation of the post of party president to the Serbian Progressive Party's Main Board on Wednesday.

16:48 Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialist party of Serbia, said he expects that talks with Democratic Party on whether there is a general consensus that Socialists and Democrats should continue working together will start on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

"If Boris Tadic and the parties in a coalition with Democratic Party agree with that, we can complete the talks in 15 minutes,” said Dacic.

Dacic added that more precise talks on the composition and programme of the new government will be held after the second round of presidential elections.

16:35 Dragan Markovic Palma, mayor of Jagodina and the president of United Serbia, expressed his support for Democratic Party presidential candidate Boris Tadic. United Serbia ran in the general elections in a coalition with the Socialist party of Serbia and the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia, PUPS. The coalition won 16.6 per cent of votes.

16:28 Serbian Progressive Party presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolic continued his campaign in Stara Pazova.

Photo by Serbian Progressive Party

16:23 The United Regions of Serbia, which won 6.1 per cent of votes in the general elections, said they will support Democratic Party presidential candidate Boris Tadic in the second round of presidential elections.

16:21 Muamer Zukorlic, Mufti of the Islamic Community in Serbia who ran in the presidential elections and won 1.41 per cent of votes, said he will support neither the Democratic Party candidate, Boris Tadic, nor Serbian Progressive Party candidate, Tomislav Nikolic, in the second round of presidential elections.

16:15 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe praises overall conduct of May 6 polls as professional - but says complaints about pressures on the media and a lack of transparency need addressing.

15:52 Vojislav Kostunica, the president of Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, sent a letter to Tomislav Nikolic, presidential candidate of the Serbian Progressive Party, regarding the second round of presidential elections. However, DSS spokesperson Petar Petkovic refused to reveal whether it is a letter of support.

DSS won 7.2 per cent of votes on general elections held on May 6 and they will have 20 out of 250 seats in parliament.

15:45 Dragoljub Micunovic, Chairman of the Democratic Party Political Council believes that Democrats will agree to form a new government with the Socialist Party of Serbia.

15:41 Boris Tadic, Democratic presidential candidate, accepted the challenge of the Progressives candidate Tomislav Nikolic to appear in a televised debate.

Nikolic challenged Tadic to appear on Wednesday evening, May 9 on public broadcaster RTS.

14:43 The Election Committee of the City of Nis nullified election results at 17 polling places in the city due to the fact that there were more ballots in the ballot boxes than the number of citizens who voted. More than 31,000 people voted at these polling places. The repeat voting date will be determined after consultation with the Republic Election Commission.

14:02 Post-election clean up:

Photo by Beta

13:57 The Serbian Renewal Movement and Democratic League of Croats in Vojvodina called on their voters to vote for Democratic candidate Boris Tadic on presidential elections.

13:55 Tomislav Nikolic, Serbian Progressive Party candidate for president, said that his party also will not open negotiations with potential coalition partners before the second round of presidential elections is over.

13: 49 Ramush Tahiri, political advisor to Kosovo's President Atifete Jahjaga, said that for Pristina “it is not important who will form a new government in Serbia.”

13:40 Boris Tadic, Democratic Party candidate for president, said that Democrats will start talks with potential coalition partners to form a government after the presidential elections scheduled for May 20.

12:39 According to the Belgrade Election Commission results for the city council from 97.7 per cent of counted ballots show that ruling Democratic Party won the largest number of votes.

Democrats won 50 out of 110 seats in the Belgrade council. The Progressives will have 37 seats, the Socialists 13 and the Democratic Party of Serbia ten seats.  Liberal Democratic Party and United Regions of Serbia failed to pass the threshold of five per cent.

12:00 Rival Progressives and Democrats have started the second round of the presidential campaign with both leaders expressing confidence in victory.

Watch the new promotional video of Boris Tadic, Democratic Party candidate for president.

11:30 Cedomir Jovanovic, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, has said that he will support Democratic Party candidate Boris Tadic in the second round of presidential elections.

11:20 Leader of Socialist Party of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, said that his party will not join a government that would have “extreme political stances such as those stating that Republika Srpska is a genocide creation or that, on the other hand, Serbia should terminate all relations with the EU.”

11:15 Dragan Djilas from the Democratic Party said that for Democrats potential coalition partners are Socialists, United Regions of Serbia and Liberal Democratic Party. He said that Democrats will not form a coalition with the Serbian Progressive Party.

11:00 According to their leaders, parties in Serbia have not opened coalition talks yet. While Socialists say that their support to one of two presidential candidates will depend on deals about the government, Democrats say that negotiations about potential coalitions should start after the presidential elections.

Election Day, May 6, 2012

01:30 As Serbian parties have gone off to celebrate/mourn their election results we bring this live blog to a close. Thank you all for following our election day coverage. For more updates on Serbia elections, profiles, news and analysis on the upcoming talks for government and tricky coalition dealings and details about the presidential elections please visit our Serbia elections 2012 page. Good night!

00:20 Latest results from CeSID show that the Democrats led coalition has won 67 mandates, the Progressives, SNS have won 72 seats, the Socialists, SPS have won 48 seats, the DSS have won 20, the Liberals 19 and the United regions of Serbia 17. The Hungarian party won 6 seats, while NOPO won one seat. The Serbian parliament has 250 seats.

23:55 Boris Tadic, the leader of the Democrats, says he is confident in his victory in the second round of presidential elections.

"The presidential elections will be key for the formation of the government and the government will be formed after the second round," said Tadic.

23:45 Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialists, said that it was clear that his party was the biggest winner in the elections.

"More than half a million people have voted for us in the presidential and in the parliamenary elections... It might be unclear who will be the president of Serbia but it is well known who will be the prime minister," Dacic said.

23:32 According to the State Elections Commission, voter turnout for the parliamentary elections was 61.08 per cent, while 61.14 per cent voted in the presidential elections.

23:15 Tomislav Nikolic, the leader of the Progressives, SNS, and a presidential candidate, said: "Tomorrow we start with talks to form a new government and that government will show that we have lost precious years and that Serbia does not have any more years to waste."

Despite SNS optimism, it would not be the first time for the party to win the majority of votes but not be able to form a government.

He also said that he had been three times in this situation to go into the second round of presidential elections but said he was confident to win this time.

22:52 Marko Blagojevic from CeSID says the preliminary results for the parliamentary elections show the Democratic Party, DS, won 23.2 per cent, the Progressives, SNS, 24.7 per cent, the Socialists, SPS,  16.6 per cent, the Radicals won 5 per cent (they are at the margin on the border, very few votes can bring them down from the census), United Regions of Serbia, URS, 6.1 per cent, the Liberals, LDP, 6.6 per cent, DSS 7.2 per cent of votes and Dveri 3.7 per cent.

He noted that some of the votes may be changed depending on the results  from Kosovo.

22:47 CeSID has announced preliminary results for presidential elections in Serbia. Boris Tadic won 26.7, Tomislav Nikolic 25.5 and Ivica Dacic 15.3.

22:36 According to the Belgrade TV station Studio B and national broadcaster B92 for local elections in Belgrade, Democrats won 36.3 and Progressives 24.3 per cent of votes.

22:15 Aleksandar Vucic of the Progressives declares victory in the parliamentary elections.

He said his party had won most of the votes and will be the one to form the government. He said the Progressives had won 24.4 per cent of votes while the Democrats have won 22.85.

22:11 Far right Dveri got almost eight per cent of votes in the city of Novi Sad in the northern province of Vojvodina, Serbian daily Blic reported.

22:06 According to the Serbian national broadcaster B92, first preliminary results for parliamentary elections from 26 per cent of counted ballots show a tight race between the Democrats who got 23.8 per cent, while the Progressives have reportedly 23.7 per cent of the votes.

21:53 Aleksandar Vucic, from the Progressive party says Nikolic will face Tadic in the runoff with equal number of votes and called on all that voted for the Radicals, the Socialists, DSS and Dveri to support Nikolic. 

He also said he expects a higher voter turnout in the second round of the presidential elections.

21:45 CeSID preliminary estimates for presidential elections show Boris Tadic won 26.8 per cent and Tomislav Nikolic 25.6 per cent of the votes. Voter turnout by 8 pm 58.7 per cent of the electorate. 

Second round of the presidential polls will take place on May 20.

Even though not yet counted, the votes from Kosovo will not affect the outcome of the presidential race, says Marko Blagojevic from CeSID.

Counting of votes in Serbia, Photo by Beta

21:33 According to the Serbian national broadcaster B92, first preliminary results for parliamentary elections on a sample of 14 per cent show that Democrats got 24.7 per cent, Progressives 23.5, Socialists 14.6, Democratic Party of Serbia 7.0 and Liberal Democratic Party 6.3.

21:24 Kosovo Serb Rada Trajkovic told KiM Radio that local Serbs who casted their ballots in the Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections in Kosovo have actually voted for the composition of "new local structures".

"With these elections, Serbs give legitimacy to Belgrade to determine working or coordinating bodies or centres [in Kosovo]. On this poll we have given a vote to the composition of such bodies," Trajkovic was quoted as saying.

21:10 According to the Serbian national broadcaster B92,  first results of presidential elections on a sample of 24.2 show that Democrats's Boris Tadic got 26.2 per cent votes, Progressives' Nikolic 25, Socialists' Ivica Dacic 14.6 per cent and Vojislav Kostunica of the Democratic Party of Serbia, 7.2.

20:56 Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialists, is ready to grab a mike again after the first preliminary results are announced. Last time he sang was at the concert of folk singer Ana Bekuta, who is at the party's headquarters already. 

20:43 Optimism in the headquarters of the main parties as supporters gather to follow the results. Preliminary results expected after 9:30pm.

20:08 According to the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, voter turnout in Serbia by 7pm was 53.6 per cent. Voter turnout in central Serbia was 55.5 per cent, in Vojvodina 53.7 per cent while in Belgrade 49.7 voters went to the polls.

Marko Blagojevic from CeSID said the vote went without irregularities. He said that first preliminary results of the elections might be available in the next hour and half.

20:00 Polls close in Serbia elections.

19:45 Serbian Broadcasting agency, RRA, has banned Belgrade television Studio B and Croatian HRT broadcasting in Belgrade over jeopardazing pre-election silence.

19:29 Democrats are sending text messages to people calling them to vote until is too late. "We are losing the elections if this trend continues. Progressives have got twice as many people. It's urgent to bring people to vote, little time left."

19:16 According to the State Election Commission, RIK, 48.24 per cent of voters cast their ballots by 6pm.

Voter turnout in Belgrade by 6pm was 46.34 per cent, in central Serbia 48.37 per cent while in Vojvodina 47.89 per cent cast their ballots.

19:02 Local elections are being held in northern Kosovo municipalities of Zvecan and Zubin Potok, organised by Kosovo Serbs, without support of Belgrade, Pristina and international community, Radio KiM reported.

Mirjana Vasic, the president of the Electoral Commission in Zvecan, said that about 35 per cent of people voted at 10 polling places in the municipality by 2pm.

Rada Kapetanovic, the president of the Electoral Commission in Zubin Potok, said that about 44 per cent of people voted at 24 polling stations in the municipality by 4pm.

18:27 Some voters want everything from the ballot to be deleted.

Photo by @vladaweb

18:05 According to the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, voter turnout in Serbia by 5pm was 44.1 per cent, two per cent more than in the elections in 2008.

Marko Blagojevic from CeSID said that there was no dramatic irregularities at the polling places, and irregularities that occurred cannot jeopardize the elections.

16:57 Voter turnout in the ballot facilitation in Kosovo was reported at approximately 17 per cent by 2pm today by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.

The Head of the OSCE Mission, Ambassador Werner Almhofer, visited several polling stations and met the OSCE staff running the balloting facilitation centres.

“Our reports indicate that so far the operation is running smoothly, and I have seen this for myself in several polling stations that the OSCE local and international staff are performing their duties diligently, enabling voters to cast their ballots,” he said.

Kosovo Serbs voting at a polling station in Gracanica, Photo by Beta

15:30 According to the State Election Commission, RIK, 31.47 per cent of voters cast their ballots by 2pm.

"Voter turnout by 2pm is higher than in the previous parliamentary elections in 2008 when in the same period voter turnout was 28.51 per cent," Dragan Vukmirovic, director of the Serbian statistics bureau told reporters.

15:10 Nikola Gaon, spokesperson of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo, told BIRN that Kosovo Serbs are continuously going to polling stations, but that no information is yet available about the turnout.

“The voting is ongoing. We have had complaints on the quality of the voters list provided by [Serbia’s] Republic’s Election Commission, but that is not in our control,” he said.

Kosovo’s Police have said that no incidents were reported during the day.

15:00 According to the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, voter turnout in Serbia by 2pm was 32,1 per cent. Voter turnout in Belgrade by 2pm was 29.4 per cent, in central Serbia 33.8 per cent while in Vojvodina 31.0 per cent cast their ballots.

14:18 Long lines of people have been registered at polling places in Northern Kosovo, where local Serbs vote for Serbian parliament and president.

According to the voters, one of the reasons for the crowd are the electoral rolls. In some places, members of electoral committees are looking for the voters in the list for up to ten minutes, which creates long lines.

13:43 Social networks in Serbia are flooded with pictures of annuled ballots. While some are casting their ballots with drawings of Batman and other super heroes, others are adding their own candidate on the list of presidential candidates.

One of the ballots featuring Batman, Photo by Eizbori.com

13:36 Despite the pre-election silence, many political parties have been sending text messages to people calling them to vote. Serbian Progressive Party is sending this:

"Dear fellow citizens, the only thing Serbia needs are changes. Serbian Progressive Party can bring that. Let's move Serbia together. Get out and vote!

13:29 A man has been offering 2,500 dinars (about 20 euro) to people to vote for a certain political party in front of a polling station next to the city cemetery in Novi Sad. Police have intervened and detained the man soon after.

13:10 Jadranka Seselj, the presidential candidate of the Serbian Radical Party, SRS, said she believed that the voters know that her party puts "national interest above the personal".

"I am waiting for the results of these elections with great optimism," Seselj told reporters at the Belgrade municipality of Zemun where she voted.

12:40 Vuk Jeremic, Serbia's Foreign Minister, told reporters that the election results will be a surprise, but noted that the second round of presidential polls, which is due on May 20, will be the most important decision.

"For some it will be a pleasant, and for others, I believe, an unpleasant surprise, but in any case, May 20 is the most important date," Jeremic said after he voted with his wife.

12:16 Vojislav Kostunica, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, said that today Serbia is choosing whether it will continue to tolerate the conditioning, blackmails and humiliation from Brussels or will develop as a free and sovereign state.

"Serbia decides between the option of no alternative to the EU and political neutrality," Kostunica said at a polling station in the centre of Belgrade where he voted.

Kostunica of the Democratic Party of Serbia, voting, Photo by Beta

11:54 Serbia's Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic told reporters he was confident that the Democratic Party led coalition and Boris Tadic will win the elections.

"I hope that victory will be achieved with significantly higher number of votes."

11:53 Boris Tadic, the leader of the Democrats, said he expected to win the elections. He said that the voters decision today is important for the future of Serbia, the region and the overall stability of Europe.

"I expect a victory. After the elections we are going forward, there will be a second round [of presidential elections], and yet another victory, investments, the date for negotiations [with the EU], settling of Serbia and the region and construction of a normal, decent and civilized society," Tadic said after he voted.

11:50 Tomislav Nikolic, the leader of the Progressives, said that he will "finally win" the presidential election and that his party will form the government.

"I will certainly have the most votes, it will not be the first time," Nikolic told reporters at a polling station. Asked if he has a talisman, Nikolic said that he carries a cross from the Orthodox Christian monastery of Hilandar, Greece.

Nikolic voting with his wife
Nikolic of the Progressives heading to a polling station with his wife, Photo by Beta

11:40 According to the State Election Commission, RIK, by 10am 10.98 per cent of voters in Serbia, without Kosovo, have cast their ballots, which is one per cent more than in the elections in 2008.

Voter turnout in central Serbia was 10.92 per cent, while in Vojvodina 11.11 per cent went to the polls. Serbia has 6.770.013 registered voters.

Miodrag Petrovic, a RIK official told reporters that no irregularities have been reported at polling stations. 

11:27 Zoran Stankovic, the presidential candidate of the United Regions of Serbia, said he hoped that the government and parliament will be formed soon after the elections and that "Serbia will move towards a better tomorrow".

"I believe in Serbia and that those who get elected will deliver good results that will benefit all citizens," said Stankovic after he cast his ballot.

11:23 Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialists, has voted at a polling station number 37 at Dedinje. He expressed the hope that his party will be an important factor in the new Serbian political scene.

"This [voting] is in certain way, sentencing each of us. Political philosophers have said that every nation has the government it deserves," Dacic said.

Ivica Dacic of the Socialists voting with his son Luka, Photo by Beta

11:14 Cedomir Jovanovic, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, has voted with his wife and daughter. He expressed his belief in good result.

"The first messages for the public after the elections should describe the real situation and offer clear solutions. It is necessary to establish a new order and overcome our divisions," Jovanovic said.

LDP's Jovanovic voting with his wife, Photo by Beta 

11:10 Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, parliamentary speaker and acting head of the state, has voted in her hometown of Kragujevac, central Serbia, expressing the hope that all the people will vote for those who can provide them with better life.

"No matter who gets the power, it will certainly face difficult situation and a great responsibility because of the economic situation," she added.

11:03 According to the election staff in the municipalities of Bujanovac and Presevo, South Serbia, all polling places opened at 7am and voting runs smoothly.

President of the Municipal Election Commission in Bujanovac Farus Islami, told Beta news agency that the only problem in the municipality was delayed for one hour of a polling station in the village of Car, where voting will be extended to 9pm.

Serbs head to polling stations, Photo by Beta

10:24 According to the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CESID, 6.6 per cent of the electorate went to the polls by 9am. The voter turnout in central Serbia is 6.8 per cent, in Vojvodina 7 per cent and in Belgrade 5.5 per cent.

10:15 Boris Tadic, leader of the Democrats, has voted at the polling station number 34. He came to vote with his wife and children.

Boris Tadic of the Democrats heading to a polling station, Photo by Beta

10:03 Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the Progressives, has voted with his wife Dragica in New Belgrade at the polling station number 58 in the elementary school "Kralj Aleksandar I".

09:35 Kosovo Serbs in Mitrovica, north Kosovo, have started voting for the parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia, organized by the OSCE.

Dozen people have protested because they were not registered in the polling station where they had voted in previous elections, as they say.

A box on the polling place in a primary schools in Mitrovica has an OSCE mark and a Serbian flag.

09:00 All 90 polling stations in the OSCE-run balloting facilitation in Kosovo opened today by 08:15 hrs.

“I am pleased to report that all 90 polling stations at the 28 locations opened this morning,” said the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Werner Almhofer. “There were minor delays of a technical nature in a few locations but these have all now been resolved.”

The OSCE-run balloting facilitation is enabling eligible voters in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in the Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections.

Polls are open across Serbia, Photo by Beta

07:00 Polls opened at 7am across Serbia for voters to ballot in general, provincial, local and presidential elections. A total of 7,026,579 voters are eligible to cast votes at 8,587 polling stations in Serbia and abroad. They will choose between 18 lists for seats in parliament and 12 candidates running for the post of head of state.

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Election Background

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Serbian Elections 2012: What's at stake

This spring almost 7 million Serbians are entitled to vote in presidential, general, provincial and local elections. 

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Two Decades of Election Tumult in Serbia

Since the renewal of multi-party politics in 1990 power has oscillated between a variety of parties in Serbia and votes have often followed by allegations of frauds and protests. 

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Key Parties in Serbia

Twelve years after the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, the scene has changed significantly as parties rise, fall and change their minds. See Balkan Insight's profiles of Serbia's ruling and opposition parties.

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Serbian Presidential Elections Since 1990

Since the first multi-party elections were held in 1990, Serbia has often had acting heads of state, while many of those elected ended their terms before their mandates expired.

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Quotes

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