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Serbia’s Top Opposition Party Leads Ruling Democrats in Survey

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Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Serbia’s ruling Democratic Party, led by President Boris Tadic, trails its likely main challenger in next year’s elections by almost seven percentage points, a new poll showed.

The opposition Serbian Progressive Party would garner 32.6 percent of votes cast while the Democrats would win 25.7 percent, according to the survey conducted Dec. 10-19 by Partner Consulting, a Belgrade-based research agency. The Democrats may stay in power after the vote expected next spring if they work with their current coalition partners with whom they have led the country since 2008, said agency Director Miroslav Sutic as he presented the survey in the capital Belgrade today.

The poll of 1,600 adult Serbians had a margin of error of 3 percent to 5 percent. It also surveyed sentiment about Serbia’s possible integration with the European Union.

Twenty-eight percent said they would approve in a referendum that their country join the bloc, while 52 percent were against it. Twenty percent were undecided or said they wouldn’t vote, Sutic said, without offering comparable results from an earlier period.

“The sentiment toward the EU was pretty negative because it was conducted soon after Dec. 9” when the EU delayed granting Serbia candidacy status over its troubled relations with Kosovo, its Albanian-dominated breakaway province.

Fifty-two percent of those polled described the three-month delay as “bad” or “somewhat bad” for Serbia, and as many as 59 percent said the country should drop the EU bid if recognizing Kosovo becomes a condition for full membership, the survey showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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