Tadić announces decision on presidential vote

BELGRADE -- Serbia’s President and ruling DS party leader Boris Tadić has cut his mandate short and will be a candidate in the presidential elections on May 6.

Boris Tadić (Tanjug)
Boris Tadić (Tanjug)

The president’s mandate will cease to exist the moment the president sends an official letter to Serbian parliament Speaker Slavica Đukić-Dejanović, informing her about his decision to resign.

Tadić will send the letter to Đukić-Dejanović on Thursday after which she will call the elections and schedule them for May 6, he announced on Wednesday.

B92 broke the news late on Tuesday, to report unofficially that Tadić would resign and enable for the vote to be held along with parliamentary and local elections.

According to the Constitution, the parliament speaker calls the presidential elections and the law on presidential elections envisages that the elections must be held 30 to 60 days since the day they were called.

Explaining his reasons for the decision, Tadić said Serbia was 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," he pointed out, noting his decision came from a feeling of political responsibility.

"I will run in the election with a lot of optimism, due to the positive trends in our country," Tadić told reporters on Wednesday.

He said the election would be difficult but also gave 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 Tadić.

"We will not recognize Kosovo," he stressed and added: "I am still the president today and tomorrow".

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

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," Tadić joked.

"I am quite certain about winning," he noted, adding he would say who he considered 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," Tadić explained.

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

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

Tadić 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," he concluded.