Serbian President Boris Tadic. (UPI Photo/ David Silpa) | License Photo
BELGRADE, Serbia, May 17 (UPI) -- Serbia's two presidential candidates took part in a bitter televised debate just ahead of next week's second round of elections.
Incumbent Boris Tadic, who resigned his presidential mandate last month and called for new elections, accused opponent Tomislav Nikolic, of the Serbian Progressive Party, of fabricating an election fraud scandal just after the first round of elections.
"You made the electoral fraud up, and nothing you said is true," Tadic asserted during Wednesday's debate. "If it were true, you would have initiated court proceedings either here or you would address the court in Strasbourg, where you have been so many times."
Nikolic said the Democratic Party spent millions of euros trying to ruin his reputation. "Many votes were stolen, and state authorities do not want to investigate that," said Nikolic, who called on citizens to "punish Tadic" at the polls May 20.
As the debate went on, both candidates accused each other of having contributed to Kosovo's secession, Tanjug reported Thursday.
"I have been urging Tadic for over a year now that we achieve consensus so as to make Serbia stronger, and that we also assume part of responsibility for Kosovo," Nikolic said of the incumbent Tadic.
Tadic and Nikolic will go head-to-head in a run-off election on May 20. By law, their campaigns will be silenced midnight Thursday until polls close Sunday.
Tadic won 25.31 percent of the first round votes, while Nikolic won 25.05, after which Nikolic accused the Democratic Party of stealing votes.