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Updated: April 15, 2011 15:30 IST

Serbian president refuses early election

AP
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Serbian President Boris Tadic. File photo: AP.
Serbian President Boris Tadic. File photo: AP.

President Boris Tadic said in a statement on Friday that elections should only be scheduled after Serbia achieves its goal of European Union candidacy in the fall. He said an early vote would slow down the bid.

Serbia’s president has rejected calls for early elections, accusing the opposition of seeking instability with their plans to hold a massive rally this weekend to push for a vote this year.

President Boris Tadic said in a statement on Friday that elections should only be scheduled after Serbia achieves its goal of European Union candidacy in the fall. He said an early vote would slow down the bid.

“Serbia needs stability to finalize this important job,” Mr. Tadic said. “Elections should be part of our European agenda ... and not an obstacle.”

Mr. Tadic added that he had “understanding” for his opponent’s “impatience and nervousness.” But, he said that “rather than instability and constant veiled threats of violence, Serbia needs exactly the opposite.”

Regular elections are due in Serbia next year, but the opposition has urged for an early vote over a deepening economic crisis and alleged corruption.

Mr. Tadic issued his statement after meeting late Thursday with Tomislav Nikolic, the leader of the biggest opposition party, which is behind Saturday’s rally that is expected to draw tens of thousands of people.

Mr. Nikolic’s Serbian Progressive Party and their allies have vowed to step up pressure on the government at the rally with “an offer they cannot refuse.” They did not elaborate.

Senior party official Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday that “unfortunately there has been no agreement” with Mr. Tadic over the election date.

“We have no other option but to fight for justice and a different and better future together with the people,” Mr. Vucic told B92 TV.

The Serbian Progressive Party organized a similar rally in early February, gathering more than 50,000 people. Several smaller rallies have been held in various towns since then.

Serbia has faced mounting economic troubles, although the country has recently moved forward in its bid to join the EU. The Balkan country is still recovering from years of wars and the international sanctions of the 1990s’

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