Serbia’s liberals are ahead in elections for parliament and president.
However, the ruling party will need to find allies to retain power, according to unofficial preliminary results.
Incumbent Boris Tadic and opposition leader Tomislav Nikolic will enter a run-off for the presidency on May 20 after taking 26.8 per cent and 25.6 per cent respectively, according to an unofficial result projection.
The result suggested the Democratic Party was well-placed to re-form its outgoing coalition with a number of smaller parties including the Socialists of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
Nikolic was once demonised by the West as Milosevic’s spiritual heir but says he now shares the goal of taking Serbia into the EU.
Tadic has helped close a dark chapter in Serbia. It started with the arrest and extradition of Bosnian Serb genocide suspects Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, and in March the country became an official candidate for EU membership.
Despite the country’s positive change, there is widespread dissatisfaction with the outgoing government over an economic downturn that has seen unemployment climb to 24 percent.