Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 12:58 UK

Serbs take westward step - press

Supporters of President Boris Tadic
Mr Tadic's victory is seen as approval for Serbia's EU ambitions

Many papers in Serbia and neighbouring countries see the victory of the pro-EU alliance as a sign that most Serbs favour joining the EU, despite anger at the decision by most member states to recognise Kosovo independence.

However some commentators, particularly in Croatia, note that the nationalist opposition, led by the Radical Party (SRS), did well enough to raise the prospect of protracted coalition negotiations.


A vote for incumbent Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and SRS chairman Vojislav Seselj was a vote for the past. The rest is the future. The Radicals are leaving... Serbia is moving forwards!


The citizens, with their pens and ballot slips, have demonstrated their wish for those who dealt with politics using bulldozers and sub-machine guns to go. The people hiding behind empty stories about Europe, progress, a better life, stability and welfare are left.


Negotiations about the new government have already started while analysts believe that these could be long and strenuous.


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will play a decisive role in setting up the new Serbian government... Putin could - as early as this week - ask President Boris Tadic's Democratic Party and the DSS to overcome their disagreements and set up the government as soon as possible.


Despite the convincing victory by the Democrats, it is difficult to predict what kind of government Serbia will get in the coming weeks.


It is still too early to say who the real winner of the Serbian elections is because post-election coalition-forging - or, rather, trading - is ahead of us. As a result, it's too soon to tell whether our eastern neighbours have chosen the European path.


The only question that remains is whether the EU will decide to accelerate the process of integration of other countries in the region and not leave them, too, as hostages of Serbia, which still does not know where it wants to go.


There is no particular need for Moscow to fight for [Radical leader] Mr Nikolic: he is already promising Russia a military base. But to build good relations with Mr Tadic is extremely desirable. Not only because he is going to be president for the next five years, but also because he represents the forces which advocate good relations both with the West and with Russia.

BBC Monitoringselects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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