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  Election Could Decide Serbia’s Role in Europe
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Last EditedArmyDem  Jan 20, 2007 02:15pm
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MediaNewspaper - New York Times
News DateSaturday, January 20, 2007 08:15:00 PM UTC0:0
Published: January 20, 2007

BELGRADE, Serbia, Jan. 19 — While six years of democracy in Serbia have given its people ample opportunities to vote — in four presidential elections, two parliamentary elections and a nationwide referendum — many complain that the country has seen little change.

Serbia remains isolated from the European Union while most of its former Eastern bloc neighbors — Hungary to the north and most recently Romania and Bulgaria to the east — have become members.

Western governments are hoping, though, that parliamentary elections to be held Sunday will make a difference by uniting Serbia’s notoriously divided democratic bloc and by preventing the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party from consolidating its position as the largest group in Parliament.

The election’s timing is particularly crucial. The parties that form the next government will be faced with the possible loss of Kosovo, the province that has been controlled by the United Nations since 1999 and whose Albanian majority is seeking independence.
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