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SERBIA

Pro-EU candidate wins Serbian elections

President Boris Tadić, of the Democrats (DS), who has won his second term in office after defeating Tomislav Nikolić of the Serb Radical Party (SRS).

In a symbolic gesture, he addressed the crowd from a DS downtown headquarters balcony, used by opposition leaders during the years of the Milošević regime, in countless protest marches and rallies.

The cheering crowd of thousands who gathered hastily after the first results were announced chanted “victory” and “Serbia,” as the president began his speech.

He thanked his supporters, and said that the victory of the idea of Serbia which conquers Europe with its potential, success, faith and wit, has shown the country's true colors to the world, and the power of its democracy.

Tadić also thanked Serbs living in the region, and all over the world, who supported his reelection bid, as well as Mlađan Dinkić and Rasim Ljajić, two politicians who backed him unconditionally from the start of his campaign.

But when the president added, “but we also thank those who did not support us, because if they had, we would never have found out how strong we are on our own,” the crowd responded with boos and derogatory chants at Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica's expense, previously heard in anti-Milošević rallies in 2000.

Tadić congratulated Nikolić on a fair campaign, and added that his voters were also welcome under the flag of Serbia's victory, asking the triumphant crowd to support him in this gesture, which they did with applause.

“There were many opponents of this victory abroad, but we want cooperation with everyone, we want our place in the European Union,” he said.

“We are sending a message to our Serbs in Kosovo that we will never let them down. We wish no one evil, we want peace, but we demand that Serbia must be respected,” the president said to his supporters' loud cheers.

Tadić concluded his address saying that the fight for a better life and against corruption and crime now continues, but that it must happen “with new, good people.”

(BBJ 4.ii.08)

 
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