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Serbia: Choosing Between Tadic and Nikolic

Tomislav Nikolic, presidential candidate of Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and deputy of Vojislav Seselj, incarcerated at the Hague Tribunal, and Boris Tadic, the current Serbian President and leader of Democratic Party (DS), continue their campaigns ahead of the Feb. 3 second-round showdown.

Mladjan Dinkic, Serbian minister for economy, for Belgrade Daily “Danas” (Jan. 22) said:

These elections will be a referendum on the EU. Votes cast for Tadic will be votes for Europe, while those that go to Nikolic mean insecurity and slow growth for Serbia.

Many Serbian bloggers support Tadic and closer relationship between Serbia and the EU, and are opposed to Nikolic's nationalist policy. Some, however, are disappointed with Tadic's politicies during his previous term and believe that they have empowered the radicals.

Here are just two of the many posts that express this point of view.

Jasmina Tesanovic fears the return of Serbia's nationalist policy of the 90s. She wrote on Jan. 29:

I will cast my ballot for Boris Tadic in the second round. I have a great historical fear of [the Aventino case]. Then the entire democratic opposition dropped the Italian parliament and went to Aventino – the hill near Rome. That was the protest against the fascistic police groups, which killed socialist [Matteotti], among others, in 1924. He had also protested publicly against the election's theft the previous year. [Mussolini] used this situation and took over the authority. You know what happened after that […]

Nebojsa Milenkovic is considering whether to support Tadic. He wrote on his B92 blog on Jan. 23:

Radicals definitely are not the main problem in Serbian society, nor are the voters and sympathizers of the wrong and masochistic politics which the Serbian Radical Party personifies. If this group were so problematic, then the situation would be quite hopeless because, as we see, these people will not disappear from political life in Serbia. Therefore it is bad propaganda – if we don't win, radicals will get a victory. There are at least three reasons for that:

1. Democracy is about political responsibility. That's why Boris Tadic has to submit a report about his previous work, to admit his own mistakes and to offer a political vision if he wants us to vote for him. Instead, we once again get an equation in two unknowns. However, if voters have a choice of voting for the better one of the two bad candidates, many of them generally do not go to the polls altogether.

2. Voters don't want a lesser evil rather than a bigger good.

3. The propaganda about the two evils indeed mobilizes and homogenizes SRS's voters and that is something that is not desirable.

There is a logical question why this propaganda is exploited if it mobilizes the radical Serbia and demoralizes the democratic Serbia […].

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