Nikolic congratulates Vucic, but stays out of celebration

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On Monday, Serbia’s current President Tomislav Nikolic congratulated Aleksandar Vucic on his victory in the presidential election held the previous day.

Nikolic also revealed that he had no plans to “return” to the SNS – the party he founded along with Vucic in 2008, when they split from Vojislav Seselj’s SRS – and from which helm he stepped down in 2012, when he was elected as president.

Nikolic was not present at the SNS HQ during Sunday’s election night and the celebration of Vucic’s first-round victory – although he previously spoke during the ruling coalition candidate’s final campaign rally in Belgrade.

The daily Politika writes on Tuesday that the president missed the celebration because he had a cold.

Nikolic made no statements during the night between Sunday and Monday either, but he spoke to Russia’s Sputnik on Monday to say that he “honestly thinks he will not return to the party.”

“We’ll see, I wouldn’t be engaged in politics any longer, but I have established such good contacts for Serbia, that I could help Serbia, I would say, with the unprecedented friendship I have with at least a few presidents with whom we get a lot done, and I will talk about this both with Vucic, and with the future prime minister,” he said.

“The results are as I expected. I was convinced that the SNS candidate must win in the first round and that a second round would effectively mean failure,” Nikolic, whose presidential mandate expires on May 31, said.

When the SNS announced that Vucic would be its candidate, Nikolic hinted he would run as well, causing a political storm, but he eventually decided against running for reelection after consulting with Vucic.

(B92, 03.04.2017)

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