Voting ends in Serbia parliamentary polls - Vucic eyes victory

Polls have closed in Serbia's parliamentary elections that are expected to produce a landslide victory for conservative Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and his Progressive Party (SNS).

"We fought honestly, I expect Serbia to choose the future," Vucic tweeted after casting his ballot.

The pace of voting picked up after a sluggish start. Some 47.7 per cent of the 6.7 million voters had cast their ballots two hours before polls closed. Total turnout was expected to cross the 53 per cent registered in the 2012 elections.

Vucic, 46, called the snap polls halfway through his term, saying that he wanted a full, four-year mandate to carry out reforms and membership talks with the European Union.

A former hardline nationalist who turned into a pro-EU moderate, Vucic and the SNS have been tipped to win more than half of the votes and a comfortable majority in parliament, repeating the triumph from two years ago.

A victory for Vucic means he will be able to follow through on reforms without depending on coalition partners.

The 2012 elections were also called two years ahead of the scheduled date.

In the coming years, Serbia faces tough measures for progress towards EU membership and for a revival of its economy and moribund state-owned sector. Unemployment persistently hovers around 30 per cent and the average monthly wage is about 400 dollars.

The opposition is expected to fragment even further with the entry of two anti-Western, pro-Russian far-right parties to parliament.

Last update: Sun, 24/04/2016 - 20:41

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