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16 Feb 17

Serbian President Nikolic ‘Planning Re-Election Bid’: Media

Media reported that in an unexpected move, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has decided to run for another term, although his party has already voted to nominate Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

Maja Zivanovic
BIRN
Belgrade

Tomislav Nikolic. Photo: Beta/Milan Obradovic.

Media in Serbia reported that President Tomislav Nikolic made the decision for run for another term late on Wednesday despite the fact that the leadership of his Progressive Party has already proposed party chief and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

The news of Nikolic’s alleged decision was reported by Russian outlet Sputnik Serbia, regional TV channel N1 and TV B92, but could not be independently verified.

Nikolic’s office could not immediately be reached for a comment.

His candidacy would come as a surprise, as Vucic is already seen as the frontrunner.

Vucic has already received support from leaders of all the other parties in the ruling coalition, who agreed he should be the joint candidate of the Socialist Party of Serbia, Movement of Socialists, the Social Democratic Party of Serbia and Unique Serbia.

Vucic refused to comment on the reports about Nikolic.

Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia, said that if the reports are true, Nikolic’s move was “shameful”.

Nikolic, who won the presidential elections in 2012 as the candidate put forward by the Progressives, has said on several previous occasions that he expects the support of the party for the next presidential race.

After the party’s decision to choose Vucic, Nikolic said on Wednesday that he was "not surprised".

“We’ll talk about it,” Nikolic said when asked if he would stand aside.

Srdjan Bogosavljevic from the Ipsos marketing agency told B92 on Wednesday that Vucic’s support among voters “would definitely be over 50 [per cent], or in the worst case around 50”.

The latest opinion poll conducted by Gallup and published on February 2 suggested that Nikolic would win the election if Vucic did not compete.

As an independent, it suggested, Nikolic would win 37.2 per cent of votes - and if he was supported by the Progressive Party, the Socialists and other members of the ruling coalition, he could count on 50.2 per cent of the votes in the first round.

 

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