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Tags: EU | Serbia | Presidential Election

Serbian Presidential Vote Set for April 2; Vucic Favored

Serbian Presidential Vote Set for April 2; Vucic Favored

Thursday, 02 March 2017 08:45 AM

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia's parliament speaker has set April 2 as the date for the country's presidential election, in which the country's populist leader will face several opposition candidates who claim irregularities in the pre-vote process.

The date announced Thursday by Speaker Maja Gojkovic means that the second round of the presidential ballot will be held on Easter Sunday, April 16, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round.

Serbia's populist Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic — a former ultranationalist now self-declared pro-EU reformer — is considered a clear favorite to win the presidency, possibly even in the first round, according to pre-election polls.

He will face several opposition candidates, including pro-Western liberal Sasa Jankovic; former Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who is supported by conservative and pro-Russian groups; and ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj who has been cleared of war crimes by a UN court but still faces an appeals process.

Jankovic is a former human rights defender and Jeremic was president of the U.N. General Assembly in 2012-13 and a losing candidate to become U.N. chief in 2015.

Although the presidential post is largely ceremonial in Serbia, the outcome of the vote could determine whether the country continues on its European Union membership path or will move toward its traditional ally Russia.

The opposition said the election could not be free and fair because Vucic controls most of the mainstream media and has chosen an election date that only allows a very short campaign.

The parliament speaker has suspended the assembly's work until the end of the vote, depriving the opposition of one of its rare venues for criticizing Vucic's politics.

Serbia's current pro-Russian president and Vucic's ally, Tomislav Nikolic, decided not to run after a five-year-term.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Europe
Serbia's parliament speaker has set April 2 as the date for the country's presidential election, in which the country's populist leader will face several opposition candidates who claim irregularities in the pre-vote process.The date announced Thursday by Speaker Maja...
EU,Serbia,Presidential Election
290
2017-45-02
Thursday, 02 March 2017 08:45 AM
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