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Serbia's Vucic seeks mandate for EU talks in early election

Sunday, April 24, 2016 - 01:01

Serbian candidates cast their ballots in an election seen as a test of pro-western Prime Minister Vucic's bid for the Balkan nation to join the European Union. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Serbian voters looked set to grant pro-western Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic four more years in power on Sunday (April 24) but he will probably have to contend with a resurgent ultra-nationalist opposition demanding closer ties with Russia. Aiming to pursue a bid for European Union membership, Vucic called the parliamentary ballot just two years after he became prime minister following a landslide election win for his conservative Progressive Party. Vucic, a 46-year-old former hardline nationalist, has promised a new drive to privatize loss-making state-run companies if he is re-elected, and pollsters expected him to win another absolute majority. But Serbia's political picture is likely to be complicated by the re-emergence of Vojislav Seselj's anti-EU Radicals, which austerity-weary voters were tipped to return to parliament for the first time since 2012 as the third largest party. Seselj, a nationalist firebrand, could become de facto leader of the opposition, less than a month after the U.N. tribunal in The Hague acquitted him of war crimes during the 1990s breakup of Yugoslavia. Seselj said his main goal was to win enough seats in the parliament to block any changes of the constitution, he believes, western powers would demand from Serbia. Polls close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) with first unofficial exit polls expected about an hour later.

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Serbia's Vucic seeks mandate for EU talks in early election

Sunday, April 24, 2016 - 01:01