Serbia’s pro-Western President Boris Tadic won a narrow re-election against nationalist challenger Tomislav Nikolic on Sunday in a vote seen as a referendum on the nation’s future ties with the West as it faces the loss of Kosovo.Here is a brief profile of the president.
* Son of a communist-era dissident, the 50-year-old psychologist went into politics in the mid-1990s as an activist against autocrat Slobodan Milosevic. He emerged as one of a crop of liberal, pro-Western reformers after Milosevic’s 13-year rule ended in 2000.
* He served as minister of telecommunications and defense in Serbia’s first post-Milosevic government, and became leader of the centre-left Democratic Party in 2004 after an internal power struggle following the March 2003 assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
* He lost to Nikolic in the first round of the 2004 presidential vote, but consolidated centrist votes for a second-round victory with 53 percent.
* He has fallen short of the expectations of the West and his supporters during three-and-a-half years as president.
He is seen as being cornered by his coalition partner, moderate nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, and forced to highlight his patriotism by vowing never to give up Kosovo, while sticking to promises of fast European Union accession.
* In his campaign he said a vote for Nikolic would mean returning Serbia to the Milosevic era. He has tried to consolidate the liberal vote by emphasizing his reformist credentials, while wooing conservatives who are worried about being shut out of the EU.
* Preliminary results gave him around 51 percent of Sunday’s vote. He had lost to Nikolic by 40 percent to 35.4 in the first round, which led to a run-off between the two candidates.