BELGRADE  - Serbians voted Sunday for a new president in a run-off with the incumbent Boris Tadic, who has vowed to lead the Balkans nation into the EU, set to beat nationalist challenger Tomislav Nikolic. The latest surveys conducted just ahead of the final round of the presidential election project Democratic Party leader Tadic will win comfortably with up to 58 percent of the vote. Tadic, 54, who brought the once international pariah state to the doorstep of the European Union with candidacy status in March, has cast the vote as a referendum on pursuing EU membership.
“It is a very important day for Serbia ... I expect these elections are going to show once again that the orientation of Serbia towards the European Union is crystal clear,” he said after voting Sunday.
Tadic became Serbia’s first non-communist leader since World War II in 2004.
He has vowed that, if elected, Serbia will start EU membership talks by the end of this year, with the aim of joining in five years.
To get into Brussels’ good books Tadic handed over last year the last remaining fugitives from the UN war crimes court hiding in Serbia , Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic and Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic.
He also agreed to talks between Belgrade and Pristina aimed at improving relations between Serbia and its breakaway province Kosovo — a key condition for EU integration.
Opposition leader Nikolic, 60, has also promised to steer a pro-European course.
However, the recent convert to the European cause warned he would not join the 27-member bloc at any cost.