( dpa ) - Voting began Sunday in the Serbian presidential election pitting the incumbent, pro-European Boris Tadic against the ultra-nationalist Tomislav Nikolic in a close race.
Pollsters predicted that Tadic and Nikolic are certain to go into the run-off on February 3, as neither has a realistic chance of winning more than 50 per cent of the votes cast and none of the remaining seven candidates expected to win more than 4 per cent.
Surveys gave Nikolic, who wants Serbia to ice relations with countries backing the independence of Serbia's breakaway province Kosovo, a slight, 21-19 per cent edge over Tadic in the first round.
The run-off in two weeks would also be close and may be decided by a few hundred thousand of the 6.7 million eligible votes, pollsters said. A higher turnout favours Tadic, while apathy is likelier to swing the outcome Nikolic's way.
The conservative Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica - who is in an uneasy coalition with Tadic's Democratic Party but is politically closer to Nikolic's Serbian radical Party - has so far refused to support either of the frontrunners.
Voting starts at 7 am and ends at 8 pm local time (0600-1900 GMT). First results are expected shortly after the polling stations close.