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Serbia’s incumbent president Vucic set to win second term

The commission also said Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won 43.4% of the vote in a parliamentary election.

Opposition presidential candidate Zdravko Ponos, a retired army general, got 17.5%, while his United for Victory alliance got 13.1%.

The Socialist Party of Serbia, a longtime partner in the SNS coalition, came third with 11.7%.

As the SNS is unlikely to get enough of the 250-seat parliament to govern on its own, it will have to seek coalition partners.

According to the commission’s preliminary data, the turnout was 58.54%.

Vucic ran for a second five-year term on a promise of peace and stability as Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, putting Serbia under pressure from the West to it chooses between its traditional ties with Moscow and its aspirations to join the European Union (EU).

Vucic acknowledged that the conflict in Ukraine had had an impact on the campaign and said that Serbia was not considering deviating from its balancing act between applying for EU membership and close ties with Russia and China, a major investor.

“We will maintain the policy that is important to Europeans, Russians and Americans, and that is…military neutrality.”

“Serbia will try to preserve friendly and partnership relations in many areas with the Russian Federation,” Vucic said.

Serbia depends almost entirely on Russian gas, while its military maintains ties with the Russian military.

The Kremlin also supports Belgrade’s opposition to Kosovo’s independence by blocking its membership in the United Nations.

Although Serbia has backed two UN resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has refused to impose sanctions on Moscow.

CeSID and CRTA investigators reported several irregularities, including the photographing of ballots.

The opposition largely boycotted a parliamentary election in 2020, allowing Vucic’s SNS party and its allies to win 188 seats in the 250-seat parliament.

A veteran politician who served as information minister in 1998 under former strongman Slobodan Milosevic, Vucic transformed himself from a nationalist arsonist into a supporter of EU membership, military neutrality and ties with Russia and China.

Ponos accused Vucic of using the war in Ukraine in his campaign to capitalize on people’s fears.

Opposition and rights watchers also accuse Vucic and his allies of an autocratic style of government, corruption, nepotism, control of the media, attacks on political opponents and links to organized crime. Vucic and his allies have repeatedly denied all of these allegations.

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