Nationalism on the agenda as Serbia votes

BELGRADE, Serbia, May 6 (UPI) -- Polls gave a nationalist candidate known as "The Undertaker" a slight edge in Sunday's presidential election in Serbia.

Tomislav Nicolic earned his grim nickname as a cemetery manager but was poised to unseat President Boris Tadic as voters headed to the polls across Serbia.


The New York Times said the election could be a pivotal one for Serbia, which has been charting a pro-Europe course under Tadic that could be derailed if Nicolic and his nationalist Progressive Party rides a wave of voter discontent into office.

Some Serbs indicated they were disillusioned by the political and economic changes Tadic has made in preparation for joining the European Union. "My family can barely survive on what we earn," said 28-year-old Tijuana Minja. "Our government has sold off the country and we have nothing to show for it."

The Times said most political analysts expected Tadic to prevail Sunday and continue on course to join the EU. They also predicted that Nicolic was unlikely to execute a 180-degree turn back toward isolationism and a closer relationship with historical ally Russia.

Nicolic himself has indicated he was flexible. "Of course I had to change, I've been a politician for 22 years," he said during the campaign. "The people of Serbia have changed."


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