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12 May, 2008 16:27

Coalition talks start in Serbia after election stalemate

In Serbia coalition talks have started after no party managed to get enough votes in the parliamentary election to claim an outright majority. The pro-EU party of President Boris Tadic came out on top with 38 per cent of the vote, but opposition nationali

Meantime, even without a clear winner, the vote is widely regarded as a confirmation of Serbia's EU-integration plans.

Tadic says while the country will now move towards Europe, he’s completely ruled out recognising Kosovo's self-declared independence.

“In this election like in the presidential election the people of Serbia said they wanted to join the EU and we promised that and we will make this happen. After this, our main strategic goal is to keep the territorial integrity and to keep Kosovo and Metohija. I will once again say that the government will never recognise Kosovo’s independence,” Tadic said.

The election was called after the coalition government collapsed in March, after failing to reach a common stance on Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Meantime, the leader of Serbia's Radical party, Tomislav Nikolic, told Russia Today he is already thinking about his next move.

“The voter turnout is lower than the presidential election because the Democratic Party did not succeed to show the voters that they are serious,” Nikolic said.

“I plan to make a government with Kostunica and we have sent a message to him that we want to do that. Tonight when we get the results we are going to contact his party to meet us tomorrow. It is possible for us to make a government; we have to do so as soon as possible. Our gate to the European Union will be open after we create the government.”

“From Russia we don’t ask for anything. We ask that all roads to Europe go through Serbia. And the road from Russia to Europe should go through us. We can negotiate with Kostunica for the PM post, but he should realise that the Prime Minister should come from the radical party because we have more votes,” he said.

Across Kosovo, the voting went smoothly despite earlier fears of violence erupting.