UK & World News

  • 17 March 2014, 2:24

Serbia Election: Progressive Party 'Wins Poll'

Serbia's ruling centre-right party has won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, according to unofficial results.

Polling group CeSID said the Serbian Progressive Party - former allies of the late president Slobodan Milosevic - won more than half of the 250 available seats, claiming about 160 in total.

Its leader, Aleksandar Vucic, a former pro-Russian nationalist who now favours EU membership, is set to become prime minister.

Opponents have accused him of wanting to introduce a Russian-style, hard-line leadership in a country that, much like Ukraine, is deeply divided between pro-Russian and pro-Western sentiment.

"The citizens of Serbia, thank you for the overwhelming support that you have given us," Mr Vucic said in his victory speech.

He added: "We are facing tough reforms, but Serbia has a future in which our children will live much better."

Although official results are not expected until Monday, all parties taking part in the vote have confirmed the unofficial count.

The Socialist Party of Serbia is believed to have won about 50 seats, with the rest going to the pro-Western Democratic Party and former president Boris Tadic's New Democratic Party.

Voter turnout was about 53% - slightly less than the 2012 elections that brought the Progressives back to power.

Serbia, which is struggling with high unemployment and falling living standards, is officially seeking entry into the EU.

It opened membership talks last year after signing the Brussels Agreement to normalise relations with Kosovo, a former province which split in 2008 but whose independence Serbia refuses to recognise.

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