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Pro-Russian Vucic to triumph in Serbia

Presidential, legislative and local government turnout soaring

03 April, 22:19
(ANSA) - BELGRADE, 03 APR - Vucic's triumph has been announced. Aleksanadr Vucic's victory in Serbia has been announced with simultaneous early parliamentary, presidential and local elections in 14 municipalities, including the capital Belgrade. In all likelihood, the Serbian leader should secure a second term in office in the first round. His conservative Party of Serbian Progress (SNS) should also have no difficulty in winning both the parliamentary and local elections by a wide margin. In the meantime, today's consultation was characterised by a strong upturn in turnout, which is expected to be around 60%, about ten points higher than the last legislative elections in June 2020. 'Peace. Stability. Vucic': this was the slogan of the outgoing president's election campaign, which took place in the shadow of the war in Ukraine and with the ups and downs of the weakened but not yet eradicated pandemic. Initially, the dominant themes of the campaign were the fight against corruption and crime, the strengthening of democratic rights and the defence of the environment, themes that remained on the sidelines, overwhelmed by the looming war and Serbia's position on the armed conflict in the not-so-distant Ukraine. And the new tensions that have emerged with the Russian armed intervention, together with fears of the possible spread of instability and threats to the Balkans, have given further motivation and impetus to Vucic's campaign. In addition to hammering home the great economic results and modernisation of the country achieved by his management over the last ten years, he has positioned himself as the only true political leader capable of keeping the rudder straight and guaranteeing peace and stability not only to Serbia but to the entire region. However, the war has placed Serbia, and Vucic in particular, in an awkward position vis-à-vis the European Union, with which it is currently negotiating accession. While condemning the violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity, Belgrade refuses to adhere to international sanctions against Moscow, invoking Serbia's national interests, primarily discounted energy supplies and support on the thorny issue of Kosovo. "For the future, the most important thing is to maintain peace and stability and ensure the continuation of economic progress," Vucic, whose assertive and muscular politics have taken on increasingly national-populist overtones, told the polling station. Today's general election was attended by opposition forces that had boycotted the last legislative elections in June 2020. Their presence seems to have helped to mobilise the electorate, with a turnout that has risen sharply since the last elections. In any case, the new parliament will no longer be a substantial monocolour as the one that emerged two years ago with over 60% and 188 of the 250 seats won by Vucic's Sns. In order to vote, Kosovo Serbs had to travel to four locations in southern Serbia today, after the Pristina authorities firmly refused, despite pressure from the EU and the international community, to organise elections on Kosovo territory for a 'foreign country'.

This position is considered unacceptable by Belgrade, which does not recognise the independence of Kosovo, still considered an integral part of Serbia. Today's vote was monitored by groups of observers from the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Irregularities and incidents of various kinds, though not major, were reported at some polling stations around the country. (ANSA).

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