BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbian nationalists on Saturday called for nationwide street protests over alleged election fraud, fueling tensions before a presidential runoff vote.
Nationalist leader Tomislav Nikolic said the Serbian Progressive Party will start peaceful protests as of Sunday because "we don't recognize" parliamentary and local election results held last weekend.
Nikolic will face pro-European Union candidate and incumbent President Boris Tadic in a runoff presidential election on May 20. Tadic led Nikolic by half a percentage point in the first round, and is considered a favorite in the runoff.
Nikolic has accused Tadic's Democrats of rigging the general elections by printing extra ballots and tampering with voting lists. Tadic rejected the claims, saying Saturday that the call for street protests "is a call to destabilize the country."
Nikolic said he will decide Saturday whether to take part in the runoff after he listens "to the peoples' voice." He said he doubted that Tadic even received enough votes among 12 candidates to qualify for the runoff.
Election experts said Nikolic cannot legally withdraw from the race between the two rounds, and his name will remain on the ballot.