Pro-EU camp faces nationalists in Serbia vote

May 6, 2012 - 2:18 AM
Serbia Elections

A woman passes by a defaced election poster of Zoran Dragisic, a presidential candidate, in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, May 5, 2012. The first round vote on Sunday for president, and votes for a 250 seat national assembly and local councils pit pro EU democrats against nationalists who have gained in popularity with the EU's own economic troubles, which have dimmed the bloc's allure for many Serbs. (AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbs are voting to choose a president, a Parliament and local authorities, with the country's pro-European Union government facing a strong challenge from nationalists promising jobs and a battle against corruption.

Sunday's election is an important step for Serbia's plans to become an EU member, after being an isolated pariah state under late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s.

The ballots also could determine whether Serbia continues to reconcile with its neighbors, including the former province of Kosovo which declared independence in 2008.

The two leading presidential contenders are Boris Tadic and his pro-EU Democratic Party, and Milosevic's former ally Tomislav Nikolic, whose nationalist Serbian Progressive Party has benefited from the EU's economic troubles, which have dimmed the bloc's allure for many Serbs.