Serbia votes for a new president on Sunday in an election widely described as the most important since the toppling of Slobodan Milosevic. With official campaigning now over, the pro-Russia candidate, Tomislav Nikolic, is the slight favourite to win the run-off.
The contest has been billed as a battle between those who want closer ties with the West and those who want a return to Serbia’s nationalist past. The pro-European incumbent Boris Tadic is the man backed by the EU in the decisive ballot.
Like his rival, he too opposes independence for Serbia’s largely ethnic Albanian Kosovo province, he differs greatly on how to react if Kosovo breaks away.
A call to arms over Kosovo is extremely unlikely but Nikolic has made it very clear that he will enlist Russia’s support, which the West fears could destabilise the region and might lead to the collapse of the government.