Serbia’s Hardline President Wins Elections


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

BELGRADE (Worthy News) – Serbia’s hardline President Aleksandar Vucic was seen winning the presidential poll Sunday while his party was due to become the most significant force in Parliament.

Vucic, 52, got nearly 60 percent of the votes, according to a projection by pollsters Ipsos and CeSID, based on a sample of the partial polling station count.

Zdravko Ponos, a retired army general representing the pro-European and centrist Alliance for Victory coalition, is set to come second with roughly 17 percent of the votes.

In the parliamentary vote, Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is set to come first with 43.6 percent of votes, Ipsos and CeSID projections showed.

The United for Victory opposition alliance trailed behind nearly 13 percent of the votes.

“I am pleased that a huge number of people voted and showed the democratic nature of Serbian society,” Vucic announced during a televised victory speech. “There was no suspense at any time,” he added.

The Balkan nation of some seven million took to the polls to elect the president and members of the 250-seat parliament and cast votes in several municipal contests.

RUSSIAN INVASION

’s invasion of cast a long shadow over the contest that observers had earlier predicted would focus on environmental issues, corruption, and rights.

Vucic used the return of in and the pandemic to his advantage, promising voters continued stability amid uncertain headwinds. “The influence of the Ukrainian crisis on the election results was huge,” the president said in his victory speech.

Following Vucic’s speech, Serbia’s leading opposition candidate Zdravko Ponos remained defiant. “These elections are (the) beginning of the end of Aleksandar Vucic… we will not waste this,” said Ponos.

In the capital Belgrade, the elections were reportedly briefly marred by scuffles between parliamentary candidate Pavle Grbovic and supporters of Vucic’s SNS, along with scattered reports of small skirmishes and voter intimidation.

During his victory speech later, Vucic dismissed any allegations of foul play. The country’s election commission predicted voter turnout would likely hover around 60 percent, nearly a 10-point jump from the last general elections in 2020.

Serbs from the former breakaway province of Kosovo also participated in the contest. They boarded around 40 buses headed north to vote after authorities in Pristina refused to allow polling stations on its soil.

Vucic, who has been a decade in power, has come under Western pressure over his perceived crackdown on and other rule of law issues. While Serbia claims it seeks membership, it maintains close and commercial ties with Russia raising concerns as war rages in Ukraine.

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