Polls Close in Tight Serbian Election

EU ties hang in balance as Kosovo split roils hopefuls
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2008 2:44 PM CST
Velimir Ilic, Serbia's Infrastructure Minister in the government of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and presidential candidate of his NS-New Serbia party waves at his final pre-election rally in downtown...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Polls have closed in Serbia in a tight presidential race between a Euro-friendly incumbent and a pro-Russian nationalist, the BBC reports. Neither pro-Western Boris Tadic nor rival Tomislav Nikolic—or any of seven other hopefuls—is expected to win a first-round majority. The election, which has sparked debates about Kosovo independence and Serbia's EU ties, will likely go to a February runoff, AFP reports.

Both candidates oppose Kosovo's independence, but the West says Tadic will better control nationalists when the province splits after the election. Nikolic vows stronger links to Russia and opposes a UN war crimes tribunal over the 1990s Balkans war. A recent poll shows Nikolic leading by 3%, but BBC adds that Tadic beat him in a 2004 presidential runoff by more than 8 points.