Serbian political parties are expected to start negotiations on the formation of a new government after the surprise win of nationalist Tomislav Nikolic in presidential polls.
Nikolic upset the odds to defeat incumbent Boris Tadic but vowed to pursue his predecessor’s drive for the Balkans nation to join the European Union.
One-time ally of the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, Nikolic led with 50.21 per cent over 46.77 for Tadic, according to preliminary results from Serbia’s republic electoral commission RIK based on 40.67 per cent of votes counted.
Thousands of Nikolic supporters gathered in central Belgrade and other Serbian towns late on Sunday, honking their horns in celebration.
Tadic quickly conceded defeat congratulating Nikolic, who promised to steer a pro-European course, on “a fair and well-earned victory”.
“Serbia will not turn away from the European path,” Nikolic said.
But a recent convert to the EU cause he has warned in the past he would not join the 27-member bloc at any cost, making a breakaway Kosovo the red line for EU membership.