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Serbia's nationalists take a knock

Mark Mardell | 21:25 UK time, Sunday, 11 May 2008

The corridors of the Radical party headquarters were filled with a thick fug of smoke, now so unfamiliar in most European political headquarters, as journalists and politicians puffed on their cigarettes and earnestly scribbled figures on pieces of paper.

A big bottle of champagne went into one office but acting leader Tomislav Nikolic was unsmiling as he marched from his office to talk to colleagues in another room.

Outside senior party members talked earnestly and grimaced. As you'll see from my previous post I was presuming the opinion polls were right and was expecting a radical victory.

But as I left the building to prepare for a live report, it was before any figures had been released but something didn't smell quite right.
Serbian President Boris Tadic (file)
Earlier in the day talking to people, I encounter fewer radical supporters than I expected, but put that down to a "Belgrade effect."

From the figures I have at the moment, it looks as though both of the parties that stood on a "Kosovo must stay ours and the EU must recognise that" have taken a knock and actually lost votes from last time round.

President Tadic's pro-European coalition seems to be the biggest overall party.

Of course that doesn't rule out his opponents forming a government in the end, but if this was a referendum on "East or West", the people seem to have voted for a European future.

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