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Serbia set for vote on Kosovo split

  • Story Highlights
  • Serbia's president dissolves parliament and calls for early elections on May 11
  • Boris Tadic makes move following political conflict over Kosovo's independence
  • Nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica dissolved government at weekend
  • His party is against joining EU unless its members retract Kosovo recognition
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(CNN) -- Serbian President Boris Tadic has dissolved parliament and called early elections for May 11, following disagreements over Kosovo and the European Union.

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Serbia president Boris Tadic dissolved parliament following conflict in the government.

The Serbian government proposed the move this week, becoming frustrated after clashing with pro-Western Tadic and his party over the issues in cabinet.

"This is a new chance for us to reinforce the capacities for the defense of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, to improve our economy perspective through the European integration process, to confirm the democratic capacity of our society, and to change things for the better," Tadic said in a statement posted on national news agency Tanjug's Web site.

Kosovo infuriated Serbia by declaring its independence last month.

That sparked divisions in Serbia about whether to keep pursuing membership in the European Union given that several EU nations have recognized Kosovo's independence.

"The Serbian government no longer has a united and common policy, which ... prevents the government from performing its basic constitutional function and conducting the policies of the Republic of Serbia," the government proposal said.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica had said he might resign if Tadic did not call early elections.

Kosovo, which is mainly populated by ethnic Albanians, declared independence from Serbia on February 17.

However, Serbia -- which regards the region as integral to its history and culture -- has refused to accept the move as being legal, and conservatives do not want to join the EU unless its member states retract any recognition of Kosovo.

Tadic, who was narrowly elected to a second term last month, set out his policies in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais.

"We are not going to relinquish Kosovo. We are going to utilize all of our diplomatic and political recourses in defense of this, but without violence," he said.

"The people understand that we should be EU members, that this is in our national interest. We're not going to relinquish Kosovo or becoming EU members.

"What's important is to find a compromise. If the Albanians are going to get everything and the Serbians are going to lose everything, there will be a problem.

"This is also in Europe's interest. Some of the countries that have illegally recognized Kosovo have committed a historic error." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About SerbiaKosovoEuropean UnionBoris Tadic

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