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Serbia's nationalist presidential contender told Russian lawmakers on Wednesday
Serbia's nationalist presidential contender told Russian lawmakers on Wednesday that if elected, his policies will be favorable to Russia, a deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament said.

Serbian Radical Party leader Tomislav Nikolic is currently neck-and-neck in the opinion polls with pro-European incumbent Boris Tadic ahead of the February 3 runoff. Nicolic arrived in Russia on Tuesday on a two-day visit, and met on Wednesday with the speakers of the two houses of parliament.

Nikolic "said that in his position as a leader and a potential president he will insist that cooperation with Russia be expanded in economics, politics and other spheres," said Alexander Babakov, deputy State Duma speaker.

The candidate considers that Serbia's "main political partner is Russia," he said.

The nationalist Serb politician's campaign for president has been given a boost by the ongoing dispute over Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo, which is expected to unilaterally declare its independence in the next few weeks, despite resistance from Belgrade.

Russia has consistently backed Belgrade's position on Kosovo and supported Serbia's territorial integrity.

Nikolic, seen as an anti-Western far-right figure, gained a five-point advantage in Sunday's first voting round, sparking concerns in the EU. Although the president's powers are limited in Serbia, the office has important symbolic significance.


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