Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tadic: Presidential election on May 6

BELGRADE - Serbian President Boris Tadic announced Wednesday that he has decided to cut his term short so that a presidential election could be held on May 6.

Explaining his reasons for the decision, Tadic said Serbia is headed into a period of comprehensive reforms, which need to be conducted by reinvigorated institutions.

"These reforms require a new legitimacy and a strengthened mandate of all state institutions, and this legitimacy can come only from voters in an election. This is why it is most rational and practical to hold a general election," said Tadic, noting his decision comes from a feeling of poltiical responsibility.

The president's term of office ends when he sends a letter to the parliament speaker informing her of his decision.

Tadic said he would inform Serbian parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic on Thursday, which means he will remain the president today and tomorrow. He added he is confident of winning: "I will run in the election with a lot of optimism, due to the positive trends in our country," Tadic told reporters.

He said the election would be difficult, but also give people an opportunity to choose which path they want the country to take. "I propose a path of European integration and preserving the country's integrity," said Tadic."We will not recognize Kosovo," he reiterated.

"I have not been postponing this decision and I do not expect problems with the Socialist Party of Serbia," said Tadic.

He noted that political reforms would be stalled if the elections were held on different dates, and that the citizens he has met with recently have also told him it would be better not to stretch out the process over the entire year.

"Now no one can accuse me of not wanting to let go of my seat," Tadic joked.

"I am quite certain about winning," said Tadic, adding he will say who he considers his biggest rival once all the candidates are known.

He said economic reform would be the focal point of his campaign. "There are no institutions in Serbia which should not be involved in economic reforms. We will continue our policy of preserving macroeconomic stability, improving the competitiveness of our products in foreign markets and raising employment," Tadic explained.

The president said he would respect all his rivals, because he sees elections as a sport game.

Asked about the hardest moment of his presidency to date, Tadic said it came when Serbia was denied EU candidate status last year, bringing the country's whole policy into question.

Tadic said he is not afraid of losing the election.

"I only fear human greed, brutality, aggression, the evil which exists among people and institutions. I would simply like all of us to build a better society together," said Tadic.

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