BELGRADE – Serbia's ruling centre-right SNS party was set for a landslide victory in snap polls Sunday, according to estimates, cementing its grip on power after pledging tough economic reforms and a route into the EU.
The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won around 50 per cent of the vote, giving it a majority in the 250-seat parliament, independent electoral monitors CESID said.
If confirmed in final results, it would be the highest score in Serbia's parliamentary elections after the fall of communism in 1990, when late strongman Slobodan Milosevic came to power.
It would also allow the party to form a government with a four-year mandate on its own. The constitutional deadline for the new cabinet to take office is mid-July.
The SNS and its leader Aleksandar Vucic – now set to become the next premier – had called early polls after Belgrade won support from Brussels to begin EU membership talks only after a historic accord with the breakaway region of Kosovo last year.
Serbia will 'pursue its EU path'
Tipped to become the prime minister, 44-year old Vucic, an ultra-nationalist hawk turned pro-European, said the first goal of the future government would be to push ahead with economic reforms and "solve the unemployment problems."
"We are facing difficult reforms... I am convinced that Serbia will pursue its path towards the EU and its fight against corruption," said Vucic, addressing his supporters following the announcement of electoral victory.
The SNS owes its popularity largely to Vucic's high-profile anti-graft drive that led to the arrest of several tycoons and former ministers.
Serbia – the largest country to emerge after the break-up of Yugoslavia with a population of 7.2 million – has often been seen as a defiant international pariah since playing a central role in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.AFP