The victory of his pro-EU party Sunday defied the Western view of Serbs as unwilling to let go of historical grievances. Now, a peaceful future seems possible.
The Democratic Party received 39 percent of the vote to Radicals' 29 percent. But coalition-building maneuvers mean the shape of the next government is still unclear.
On Sunday, Serbs will weigh in on whether to pursue a pro-European Union path or a more nationalistic, anti-Western route.
A product of the criminal Milosevic era, its odd nostalgia is the soundtrack to a new wave of nationalism.
The clash between UN peacekeepers and Serb protesters at a Mitrovica courthouse could bolster hard-liners in Belgrade ahead of May elections.
Prime Minister Kostunica dissolved the coalition government Saturday after a bitter standoff between hard-line radicals and pro-European forces.
Belgrade power broker Vojislav Kostunica is shaking the newly elected government over Kosovo.
He won the presidency, but Radical Party's Nikolic will probably still be influential.