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Serbian Opposition Party Widens Lead Ahead of Vote, Survey Shows

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Serbia’s main opposition party widened its lead ahead of the ruling Democratic Party of President Boris Tadic before May 6 general elections on concerns caused by high unemployment.

The opposition Serbian Progressive Party would get 33.2 percent of votes cast, while Tadic’s Democrats would win 29.1 percent, according to an opinion survey conducted by Belgrade-based Faktor Plus pollster in the week starting March 18 among 1,184 people. It had a margin of error of 3 percent.

With only 34 percent of the respondents clear about their political choice, “it seems the voters are dissatisfied with offered political options,” Vladimir Pejic, a manager of Faktor Plus, said at a news conference in Belgrade. Still, the pollster counts on “around 4 million people,” or almost 60 percent, of the electorate casting the ballot.

The election comes at a time when the dinar is at its weakest levels since Milosevic’s fall in 2000, unemployment is at 24.4 percent and growth is 0.5 percent at best, according to the central bank and the International Monetary Fund forecasts.

Voters in Serbia attach the greatest importance to economic woes, wages and fight against crime and corruption, followed by solidarity and Serbia’s ultimate membership of the European Union, Pejic said. A developing democracy is at the bottom of the list of their priorities, he said.

The results compared with a survey presented on March 9, a week after Serbia was granted the status of EU candidate, which showed the Progressives’ lead tighter, at only 1.5 percentage points.

The Socialists, once led by Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, ranked third with 11.1 percent of voters. Three more parties would make it to Parliament with the backing of more than 5 percent each, which is the threshold for the 250-seat legislature, according to the poll.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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