BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 09:07 GMT
Serbian leader calls snap polls
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, left, and vice-premier Bozidar Djelic, 10/03/08
Mr Kostunica (left) said his cabinet could not agree on a policy
Serbian President Boris Tadic has dissolved parliament, calling snap elections for 11 May.

The move follows last week's collapse of the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.

Ministers failed to agree on whether to suspend ties with the European Union, in protest at recognition of Kosovan independence by some EU members.

EU officials have said they hope Serbia's pro-EU parties will win the May elections.

The fresh ballot is seen as a way out of Serbia's deepening political crisis, says the BBC's Helen Fawkes in Belgrade.

Belgrade's dilemma

"The elections are a democratic way for citizens to say how Serbia should develop in years to come," President Tadic said in a statement.

Mr Kostunica, who leads the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), says recognition of Kosovo by major EU states is illegal.

map

"All parties want Serbia to join the EU, but the question is how - with or without Kosovo," he said last week.

President Tadic says Belgrade will only be able to defend its right to Kosovo if it joins the EU.

He says the main difference between himself and his prime minister is not on Kosovo but Serbia's "European and economic outlook".

Kosovo's declaration of independence on 17 February came nearly a decade after Nato forces expelled Serbian forces from the majority ethnic Albanian territory.

The US and most EU states have recognised Pristina's unilateral move.

Serbia and its ally Russia say they will never accept it.



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific