The continuing presence of Kosovo made a large impact on this week’s election in Serbia with right wing extremists gaining victory in round one of the vote. Nationalist Tomisla Nikolic came out ahead of pro-western incumbent Boris Tadic by a score of 39% to 35%. Tadic told the nation the vote was between walking on a road leading to Russia or venturing on the more significant road leading toward membership in the European Union. A central issue of the vote revolved around the future of Kosovo which intends to declare its independence in the coming months. Tadic is trapped in a Catch 22- he opposes immediate independence for Kosovo but also wants Serbia to enter the EU. The European Union is supporting Kosovo’s desire to be an independent nation. Nikolic favors close ties with Russia which has been supportive of efforts to prevent Kosovo independence.
Nikolic wll employ waving the red flag of defiance against Kosovo, but, at best, he can delay but he can not prevent the breakaway from taking place. Tadic is speaking reality, but in many such cases a demagogue will gain the initial victory although when it becomes apparent it was rhetoric, the reality of what must be done will become reality.