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Last Preparations Before the Big Voting in Serbia

Published on 6 May 2012 08:57, Adelina Marini, Belgrade

Serbia is different than Bulgaria in many aspects, including in terms of organisation of elections. After the election day is over, the news conferences will take place in the party headquarters not in a common place, as it is usually in our country. And as we don't know Belgrade very well and because it is changing quite dynamically, we decided to find the headquarters of the two main opponents on Saturday in order to save time tonight - Boris Tadic and his Democratic Party and Tomislav Nikolic with his brand new party Serbian Progressive Party (SPP).

In a contrast to my first impressions from entering Serbia a few days ago, that made me think that Nikolic's campaign is lavishly financed, the office of the party is situated in a poorer and still underdeveloped part of Belgrade - the Zemun quarter. It took us some time to find the headquarters of the left-wing party, because there was no increased propaganda anywhere around to show us the right direction - no billboards, posters or anything that could show us where they are. This is in a full contrast with the indeed flooded with Nikolic's face and his team Serbia. The party headquarters is situated in a very untended trade centre, in which there is a miserable market place. We managed to find the place by asking the people around.

Unlike the lack of colour of the building and the way to it, the very few people that had remained in Nikolic's headquarters, were agitated. They welcomed us and showed us around, explaining us that they were situated in this obscure place because they do not receive any subsides from the state budget. Actually they do, but it is insignificant. They think, however, that with today's elections the situation will change dramatically, because they expect an overwhelming election victory. As a typical new party, anticipating a big victory, they were welcoming toward journalists, especially foreign.

The situation with Tadic's headquarters was quite different, though. It is situated in an expensive part of the city, almost in the centre of Belgrade, in a wonderful street, where tens of embassies are seated. The house, in which the party is, is an old one and is wonderful. Alas, we were not allowed to take photos there to show you the pre-election atmosphere in the room, which will accommodate tens of journalists tonight. Moreover, we were told that we needed special accreditation to attend the news conference.

Everything will start at 8 o'clock tonight. Then the election day ends and the gathering in the party headquarters will begin. In a separate building in Belgrade the first election results are expected to be announced.

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