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Serbians Protest Economic Hardship

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TEHRAN, April 18 (ICANA) – Tens of thousands of Serbian opposition supporters have demonstrated in Belgrade against economic hardship, urging President Boris Tadic to call early elections.
Monday, April 18, 2011 8:06:08 PM
Serbians Protest Economic Hardship

On Saturday, 50,000 protesters, who threatened to embark on a sit-in if their demands are not met, slammed Tadic's ruling coalition for the recession and blasted the government as incompetent and corrupt, a Press TV correspondent in Belgrade reported on Sunday.

Waving national flags and carrying banners calling for the fall of Serbia's government, demonstrators called for early elections to be held before next year.

Parliamentary elections in Serbia are due in 2012, but with the recession taking its toll, the pressure is growing on the authorities.

The Serbian president, however, says holding early elections would slow down his country's efforts to formally become a candidate for EU entry.

Amid the growing discontent over government's refusal to call early elections, President of Serbian Progressive Party Tomislav Nikolic said during the rally that he would neither eat nor drink until Tadic fulfills public demands.

"I won't eat or drink anything today, and I do it for the sake of the country. We are prepared to sacrifice our lives, we might go but we would never give up," said the 59-year-old politician, who was hospitalized Sunday on the second day of his hunger strike.

"We want early election to stop those who are destroying everything in this country, now with your help we can certainly win," Nikolic's deputy Aleksandar Vucic said at the rally.

Meanwhile, some analysts argue that the feuding factions should seat for talks and it does not make any difference if the proposed elections are held in December or January.

"Imagine the presidents of every political party go on hunger strike along with unsatisfied workers and union members, that would be cataclysmic," Professor at the University of Belgrade Zoran Stoiljkovic told Press TV.

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