Serbia’s current president Vusic is set to win a second term

  • Vucic will win the presidential election with 59.8% of the vote
  • Serbia needs to maintain military neutrality, Vucic says
  • Serbia maintains EU membership initiative, friendly with Russia

Belgrade, April 3 (Reuters) – Serbia’s current president Alexander Vusic will win Sunday’s presidential election with 59.8% of the vote, according to Ipsos and CeSID’s partial ballot sample.

Zdravko Ponos, a retired army general representing the European Coalition for Democracy and the centrist coalition, is in second place with 17.1% of the vote.

Ipsos and CeSID predictions show that Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) will lead the House with 43.6% of the vote.

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The United Opposition Coalition for Democracy is trailing by 12.9% of the vote.

The Socialist Party of Serbia, a longtime ally of the SNS, is in third place with 11.6% of the vote. The Green Movements and Parties Coalition Nada (Hope) Right Alliance and Moramo (We Should) received 5.4% and 4.3% of the vote, respectively.

Since the SNS may fail to win enough in the 250-seat parliament to govern alone, it will have to look for coalition partners.

According to preliminary data from the State Election Commission, 58.54% of the vote was cast.

Vusic ran for a second five-year term on the promise of peace and stability, just as Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, which put Serbia under Western pressure to choose between its traditional ties with Moscow and its aspirations to join the European Union (EU).

Vuிக்i acknowledged that the conflict in Ukraine had affected the campaign, and that Serbia had no plans to withdraw from the EU membership attempt to draw a balance between Russia and a key investor, China.

“We will pursue an important policy for Europeans, Russians and Americans, and that is … military neutrality.”

“Serbia will seek to maintain friendly and cooperative relations with the Russian Federation in many areas,” Vuிக்i said.

While Serbia has relations with Russia’s military, Serbia is completely dependent on Russian gas.

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

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

CeSID and CRTA pollsters reported a number of irregularities, including photographing 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.

Vuிக்i, a senior politician who served as information minister in 1998 under the former powerful Slobodan Milosevic, transformed himself into a nationalist firebrand EU member, supporter of military neutrality and relations with Russia and China.

Vuிக்i has accused Bono of using the war in Ukraine in his campaign to exploit popular fears.

Opposition and rights watchdog groups have accused Vucic and his associates of authoritarian rule, corruption, nepotism, media control, attacks on political opponents and links to organized crime. Vucic and his associates have repeatedly denied all of those allegations.

Report by Alexander Vasovic and Ivana Sekularok; Editing by Emilia Sithol-Modris, Diane Kraft and Sisu Nomiyama

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