By Bojana Barlovac
After months of weighing the risk of early presidential elections, Serbian President Boris Tadic has decided to call them on May 6 in order to coincide with Serbia’s local and general elections, Balkan Insight has learned from a senior official of Tadic’s governing centrist Democratic Party.
“The move will show that Tadic wants to save money by holding all the elections at once,” the same source said.
The moment is seen as good for presidential elections as the Democrats believe that the EU’s recent decision to give Serbia candidate status on March 1 has boosted Tadic’s popularity. Tadic is expected to announce the decision on Tuesday or Wednesday.
According to the Law on the Election of the President, the vote must be called at least 30 days before the election takes place, which means by April 7 if the vote is to go ahead on May 6.
If Tadic calls the vote, he will have to resign as President and Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, the speaker of parliament, will become the acting President until a new head of state is elected.
Dragan Bujosevic, editor of the Serbian daily Politika, said he believes that Tadic will call early elections as his chances of winning have now improved.
“Later on, he would risk losing, as he would go into the second round [of the presidential polls] with [opposition leader Tomislav] Nikolic and people might say, well, if the Democrats have already formed the government, we will vote for Nikolic,” Bujosevic said.
According to the latest polls, if presidential elections were held now, Tadic would get 40.9 per cent of the votes while Nikolic would get 33.4.
Presidential elections appear more interesting to voters than parliamentary polls in Serbia. In 2008, 4.6 million Serbs voted for a President while only 4.1 million cast ballots in the parliamentary elections.
Tadic has been President since 2004. The mandate of the head of state last five years and the same person cannot be elected more than twice.
Tadic, however, could be elected for a third time because his first mandate doesn’t count, as Serbia’s new constitution was only adopted in 2006.