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Serbia’s Governing Coalition Picks its Presidential Candidate

Serbia's governing coalition picked Finance Minister Dragan Marsicanin on 15 April to be its presidential candidate in the 13 June elections, Reuters reported.

Marsicanin is a member of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and a former speaker of the parliament. His strongest opponent in the June race is Tomislav Nikolic of Vojislav Seselj's Serbian Radical Party (SRS), who won the most votes in the failed 16 November elections.

Either opposition Democratic Party candidate Boris Tadic or Marsicanin is likely to face Nikolic in a second round.

The presidential post is largely ceremonial, but the ballot is widely seen as an important test of political sentiment. By using strong nationalist rhetoric over Kosova and agreeing to pay many expenses of Serbian indicted war criminals in The Hague, the government has sought in recent weeks to outbid Nikolic in appealing for the nationalist vote.

There is no longer a 50 percent hurdle for the ballot to be valid.

(RFE/RL 15.iv.04)

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