Vucic and Serbia’s ruling SNS party on track for election victory

Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic was on observe for re-election on Sunday. His SNS get together additionally appeared to have taken the most important portion of the votes, a efficiency more likely to enable the populist conservative chief to consolidate his energy in a second time period.

Pollsters Ipsos and CESID predicted that Vucic would garner almost 60 per cent of the votes amid a comparatively excessive turnout, with the official end result anticipated within the coming days. If confirmed, Vucic would keep away from a runoff for a second election operating.

“A huge thank you to the citizens of Serbia,” he mentioned. “I’m endlessly proud and endlessly happy . . . I believe in a significant and convincing victory and I believe everyone will get what they deserve.”

Vucic, a former ultranationalist who rose to prominence as propaganda minister underneath former Serbian chief Slobodan Milosevic, has campaigned on a message of stability amid the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Serbia’s conventional ally.

He has come underneath robust worldwide stress over his resistance to becoming a member of sanctions in opposition to Russia — one of many few European leaders to take such a stance.

Vucic is unlikely to vary course dramatically given a major proportion of his voters sympathise with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s marketing campaign in opposition to Kyiv, and resent the west, which bombed Belgrade in the course of the Yugoslav wars in 1999.

“Regarding Russia sanctions, a quick about-turn seems unlikely,” mentioned Milos Damjanovic, an analyst on the BIRN consultancy in Belgrade. “Vucic will seek to play for time and avoid aligning with sanctions on Russia for as long as possible, hoping that the war in Ukraine ends or grinds to a halt.”

How far Vucic can take that coverage can even rely on whether or not the EU and the US tolerate Belgrade’s non-alignment on sanctions, Damjanovic mentioned, including that western stress would run up in opposition to Serbian public opinion and the nation’s dependence on Russian vitality.

Russian corporations personal nearly all of Serbia’s vitality sector, its largest gasoline storage facility, and management the nation’s provide of gasoline by way of the brand new Turkish Stream pipeline. Serbia’s long-term gasoline provide settlement must be renegotiated by July.

Vucic can even profit from the victory of his shut ally, Hungarian premier Viktor Orban, who additionally received re-election on Sunday.

“Vucic will certainly be pleased with Orban’s victory, given that the Hungarian leader has been a strong backer of Vucic and Serbia within the EU,” Damjanovic mentioned.

Earlier than the Ukraine battle outdated different points, Serbians had protested in opposition to Vucic in a ballooning collection of protests over insufficient environmental protections and a perceived leniency in the direction of multinational corporations, forcing Vucic into an about-face on one of many nation’s largest funding tasks, a lithium mine.

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