The opposition Serbian Progressive Party is ahead of the ruling Democrats before May 6 elections in one poll and tied in a separate survey, indicating a tight race to lead the newest European Union candidate.
The Progressives had 29.7 percent support, while the Democrats garnered 25.1 percent in a poll of 1,400 respondents by Partner Consulting conducted April 5-8 with a margin of error of 2-4 percent. Zagreb-based Ipsos Puls put the Progressives and the Democrats at 27.1 percent each. The Socialist Party of former strongman Slobodan Milosevic would get about 13 percent, according to both polls.
Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic’s Cabinet, which took office in July 2008, has weathered global economic and debt crises, a 32 percent drop in the dinar, rising unemployment and a 16 percentage-point increase in public debt to gain EU candidacy status. Still, the Socialists are the only party to have shown gains in the Partner Consulting poll, suggesting voter frustration over the status quo.
The Socialists will be an “unavoidable factor in forming any new ruling coalition,” said Miroslav Sutic, the head of Partner Consulting, today in Belgrade.
The Partner Consulting survey also shows that President Boris Tadic, who linked presidential elections with the parliamentary ballot to help the Democrats regain office, may also struggle to be reelected as Progressive Party head Tomislav Nikolic leads the incumbent 30 percent to 26.5 percent, Sutic said.
Economic, Corruption Concerns
Job prospects, higher wages, a fight against corruption and organized crime, are more important to voters than Serbia’s future EU membership, respondents in both polls indicated. In Serbia, the largest former Yugoslav republic, only 1.7 million of 7.2 million people have formal employment.
According to both surveys, four other parties would pass the 5 percent threshold to enter Parliament.
They are the Turnabout Movement led by Cedomir Jovanovic, the Serbian Radical Party of Vojislav Seselj, who is standing trial at the Hague-based war crimes tribunal, the Democratic Party of Serbia of former Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and the United Regions of Serbia led by former deputy prime minister Mladjan Dinkic.
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