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Presidential poll presents clear choices for Serbia

Presidential poll presents clear choices for Serbia
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A pro-Western liberal or a staunch nationalist. Serbia makes it choice on Sunday in a presidential election being seen as a plebiscite on the country’s place in the world. With hardliner Tomislav Nikolic ahead in the opinion polls, there have been warnings that Belgrade’s future ties with the EU are also at stake. Nikolic thinks Serbia must strike a balance between the West and Russia. But the man he is challenging, current President Boris Tadic, has made EU membership a priority. This is despite strong support within the bloc for Kosovo’s independence ambitions, something both main candidates in the poll firmly reject.

Kosovo’s government met today, confirming the province is gearing up to break away from Serbia. Leaders issued a call for calm in order to achieve that goal. There was firm backing for Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who has been visiting the UN in New York. He has said Pristina won’t wait much longer to declare independence.

Kosovo, like Serbia, stands at a crossroads in the run-up to this weekend’s poll. Whatever the outcome, the ethnic Albanian majority in the province believe it is time to go it alone.