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Official count confirms big win for Serbia's pro-EU PM

AFP  |  Belgrade 

Serbia's pro-EU Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic won a landslide victory in general elections, the electoral commission confirmed today after nearly all ballots were counted.

Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party won 48.25 per cent of the vote which would give him 131 MPs in the 250-seat -- down from the 158 won in the last election, the commission said based on 98 percent of votes counted.

The Socialists, Vucic's coalition partners in the outgoing government, came second with 11.01 percent of the vote.

They were followed by the far-right Radicals led by ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj, who won 8.05 percent of the vote. Seselj was recently acquitted of war crimes charges arising from the 1990s Balkans conflicts.

The anti-EU and pro-Russian Radicals were set to return to with 21 MPs, having failed to win any seats since 2012.

Four other political groupings just passed the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament, according to the commission.

They were the centrist Democratic Party, a new liberal party called "Enough is Enough" ("Dosta je bilo"), a liberal coalition led by former Serbian president Boris Tadic, and a eurosceptic and pro-Russian coalition, DSS-Dveri.

Several groups representing ethnic minorities -- for which there is no threshold -- would also be present in the assembly after the vote, which was Serbia's third in four years.

Vucic, premier since 2014, called the early saying he needed a clear mandate to press ahead with the potentially unpopular reforms required to join the European Union.

But critics saw the vote as an attempt to consolidate power, expressing concerns about the authoritarian tendencies of the 46-year-old premier, including curbs on media freedom.

First Published: Mon, April 25 2016. 19:13 IST