Serbia Set for Snap Elections After Kosovo Spurs Collapse

Most important vote in decade called for May
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2008 10:25 AM CDT
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, left, and vice-premier Bozidar Djelic are seen during a session of caretaker government, Monday, March 10, 2008, in Belgrade.   (AP Photo/Srdjan Ilic)
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(Newser) – The president of Serbia dissolved parliament today, paving the way for early elections on May 11 that many are calling the country's most critical vote since the fall of strongman Slobodan Milosevic. Serbia's government collapsed over the weekend due to infighting over the fate of Kosovo and the country's prospect of membership in the European Union, reports Reuters. Early polls suggest the election will be close.

The election pits the pro-EU Democrats against the hardline nationalist Radicals party. Both parties insist that Kosovo is an intrinsic part of Serbia, but the Democrats want the process of EU membership to continue despite Brussels' support for the breakaway province. The timing could hardly be worse for Serbia's foreign standing. Many in the West have been shaken by the country's recall of ambassadors from nations that recognized Kosovo, as well as by recent riots in Belgrade.