Official results confirm Serbia PM Vucic elected president

Official results confirm Serbia PM Vucic elected president

BELGRADE, Serbia — A near-complete official vote count of Serbia’s presidential election confirmed on Monday that prime minister Aleksandar Vucic has won by a landslide in the first round of voting, further strengthening his authoritarian rule in the Balkan country amid support from Russia.

The State Election Commission said after counting 91 per cent of ballots that Vucic won 55 per cent of votes, followed by liberal candidate Sasa Jankovic with 16 per cent, and Luka Maksimovic, a parody politician, with 9 per cent.

The triumph in Sunday’s balloting is a major boost for Vucic, who is now expected to further tighten his already firm grip on power in Serbia. Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party also dominates the parliament.

A former extreme nationalist who has rebranded himself as a pro-EU reformer, Vucic has said he wants to lead the Balkan country into the European Union, while also pushing for deeper ties to longtime ally Russia.

Vucic’s candidacy was endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin amid fears from some of Moscow’s expanding influence in the tense Balkan region.

Putin on Monday congratulated Vucic on his “convincing election,” including popular support for his “meaningful and balanced foreign policy,” the TASS news agency said.

Putin has reportedly promised his signature on the delivery of fighter planes, battle tanks and armoured vehicles to Serbia. The move triggered fears of an arms race in the war-weary Balkans.

In Brussels, the EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn warned Monday that Vucic has a “certain responsibility” in light of Sunday’s polls “to use this strong support by the citizens in a careful way.”

Hahn told reporters that he was comforted by Vucic’s early assurances that “he will fully respect the constitutional framework, and I trust him.”

Opposition candidates have accused Vucic of control over the media, mudslinging and intimidation of voters. Critics say Vucic’s full control deals a blow to Serbia’s fragile democracy.

“No runoff means our society is politically immature,” analyst Jovo Bakic said. “Where else is there no runoff? Only in North Korea!”

Vucic has been prime minister since 2014. He is expected to appoint a figurehead successor as prime minister and transform the presidency from a ceremonial office into a more powerful post.

____

Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.

Jovana Gec, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Opioids, meth, firearms seized at known Chilliwack drug house

Home on Broadway Street raided on Feb. 15 where homicide occurred Jan. 31

GW Graham basketball girls savour Fraser Valley championship

It’s been a long wait for the Grizzlies, who lost the FV title game the last two seasons.

Chilliwack Curling Club holding open house

If you’ve ever wanted to try the sport, the club invites you to take the plunge this weekend.

Chilliwack MLA John Martin says NDP budget will hurt business, punish taxpayers

‘Family-owned businesses will struggle to respond to this’

Chilliwack-Kent MLA decries ‘classic, big tax-and-spend’ NDP budget

Laurie Throness says budget relies on strong economy but contains no ideas to help it grow

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Team USA beats Canada 3-2 on the shootout to take home Olympic gold

Americans win their first gold medal since 1998

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

Coroner says no foul play suspected in death of 79-year-old Stanley Okumoto

Most Read