**Serbia election: Pro-EU Prime Minister Vucic claims victory
Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic had called for an early vote to continue with pro-EU reforms
Serbia’s pro-EU PM Aleksandar Vucic has claimed victory in general elections after pollsters’ projections showed his Progressive Party won 50% of the votes.
He said Serbs “again gave us the honour to lead the government”.
Mr Vucic called the poll early seeking a mandate to continue with reforms required to join the EU**.
The Socialists are in second place with about 13%, while the ultra-nationalist Radical Party - which seeks closer ties with Russia - is third with 7%.
Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj could return to parliament after his recent acquittal of crimes against humanity at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
The Radical Party opposes EU membership.
The initial projections were published by independent observing group CeSID.
After casting his ballot earlier on Sunday, Mr Vucic said he would not compromise with right-wing parties and hoped that voters would choose a “European path”.
**“I’m almost certain that we’ll carry on our EU integration process,” he said.
Also voting in Belgrade, retired Jelica Nikolic, 68, said she and her husband were acting more out of duty than conviction. “We have elections too often,” she said.
In the south-western city of Novi Pazar, voter Edib Mahmutovic, 40, hoped the winner would create new jobs “that enable us to stay here and not have to look for a better life elsewhere in Europe”.
This is Serbia’s third parliamentary election in less than four years.
If confirmed, the results would mean an absolute majority for Mr Vucic in parliament.
The ultra-nationalists, however, could complicate Serbia’s EU membership talks by resisting concessions, such as ending the claim to sovereignty over Kosovo.