May 21 - Voters expect newly elected president Tomislav Nikolic to reverse high unemployment whilst EU wants him to stay the course of reform and membership. Sarah Sheffer reports.
The surprise victory of rightist opposition leader Tomislav Nikolic in Serbia's presidential elections is a turning point for the country breaking from almost 12 years of Democratic Party rule. Serbs blame the liberal incumbent Boris Tadic for the under performing economy and rife corruption. But the man they chose in a close-run vote is a nationalist associated with the bloody collapse of Yougoslavia. First amongst his tasks was to reassure the EU by saying Serbia will not stray from its European path. (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) BELGRADE RESIDENT, MILIC RAJKOVIC, SAYING: "First of all the problem of corruption has to be dealt with and brought to an acceptable level, we need to look towards Europe, and we must not change that course, because that has no alternative." The victory of the former ultra nationalist has caused unease among Serbia's ex-Yugoslav neighbours, who see him as the ideological heir of Serbia's ousted strongman Slobodan Milosevic. (SOUNDBITE)(Albanian) HAMDI TASHOLLI, PENSIONER, SAYING: "It is bad for Serbia which is in decline. The main figure of the Serbian radicalism and chauvinism is Nikolic," Nikolic was in government in 1999 when Serb forces expelled almost 1 million ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and NATO intervened with air strikes. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters.