By Ria Novosti
The Serbian Election Commission has approved 11 candidates to run in the forthcoming presidential elections, with one more presidential bid still under consideration.
Presidential polls will be held in Serbia on May 6. The deadline for candidates to file their bids expired at midnight on Monday.
The early elections were announced after President Boris Tadic resigned in early April, ten month before his term expires. He will now compete for a new term with Progressive Party leader Tomislav Nikolic, who is seen as his main challenger, and at least 10 other candidates.
Analysts see dwindling popularity of Tadic’s Democratic Party as a possible reason for the resignation. They say Tadic intended to use his personal popularity to boost the support for his party in parliamentary polls to be held on the same day as the presidential vote.
Tadic’s other competitors in the presidential race include Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialialist Party; Cedomir Jovanovic, the Liberal Democratic Party head; Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia’s former prime minister and ex-president of Yugoslavia, who leads the Democratic Party of Serbia; Zoran Stankovic of the United Regions of Serbia; Jadranka Seselj of the Serbian Radical Party; and Vladan Glisic, candidate for the Dveri movement.
On Sunday, the country’s election commission also approved the presidential bids of Istvan Pasztor, leader of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians and the Hungarian Coalition, Zoran Dragisic, leader of the Movement of Workers and Peasants of Serbia, and Serbia’s Chief Mufti Muamer Zukorlic.
Two hours before the deadline, Danica Grujicic of the Social Democratic Union also filed her presidential bid.
A staunch supporter of Serbia’s European Union membership, Tadic has made a number of political concessions including permission for Kosovo to take part in multilateral international meetings as a separate entity. Many analysts described the move as a “semi-recognition” of the region’s independence from Serbia.
Tadic is unpopular with Serbian nationalists, who blame him for Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008.
In early March Serbia officially received the EU candidate status, though, according to opinion polls, more than 50 percent of the country’s population oppose EU membership.