Serbia's powerful PM favored to win presidential election

(Vatican Radio) Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has scored a convincing victory in in the country's presidential election, despite opposition concerns over his perceived autocratic style.

Based on 40 percent of votes counted from a sample of polling stations, Vucic won the Sunday election with around 55 percent of the vote, Reuters reported citing the CRTA and Ipsos polling groups.

"For me it is important this election demonstrated that a large majority of Serbian citizens favours the continuation of the European path while maintaining close ties with China and Russian Federation", said Vucic.

The Kremlin said Mr Putin hailed Mr Vucic as a "principled supporter of stronger friendly relations between Russian Federation and Serbia" who would develop the "strategic partnership for the good of the brotherly peoples of both countries".

The opposition has accused Mr Vucic of muzzling the media and intimidating voters ahead of the election.

Serbia is run by a coalition government of the SNS and the Socialist SPS party. In Serbia, the post is largely ceremonial but analysts say he will use it to consolidate his grip on power, including with his eventual pick for prime minister.

Before the vote, Mr Vucic visited Mr Putin, who reportedly promised his signature on the delivery of fighter planes, battle tanks and armoured vehicles to Serbia.

Vucic, a former ultranationalist who claims to be a pro-EU reformer, said Tuesday he has nothing against the protests, "as long as they are peaceful".

They said that the wish him success in further pursuing this path by promoting the reforms associated with the ongoing accession process which will bring a better life to all citizens.

Some 6.7 million people were eligible to vote in Serbia, RIA reported, adding that those voters include people living overseas and in Kosovo and Metohija, with OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) representatives having monitored the election process in the region.

That turnout is about the same as when Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic's right-wing party won a parliamentary vote in 2014.

Serbia's next government will be led by a prime minister who would be a person of trust who would not overshadow Vucic.

One of the biggest surprises of the election campaign has been Luka Maksimovic, a media student who is running as a grotesque parody politician, decked out in a white suit, oversized jewelry and a man-bun.

It's the third election victory in a row for Vucic and his party, which opposition leaders say has used its ruling position unfairly to its advantage.

  • Leroy Wright