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Serbian Students Renew Anti-Vucic Protests After Easter Break

Protests in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad on April 17
Protests in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad on April 17

Serbian students renewed their protests on April 18 against the election to the presidency of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, alleging there were major irregularities -- including the muzzling of the media, voter intimidation, and bribery.

The first-round election victory on April 2 for the 46-year-old Vucic gives his Serbian Progressive Party control over the entire legislative and governing process.

Some critics have warned that such a concentration of power could push the Balkan country back into the autocracy symbolized by former leader Slobodan Milosevic during his decade in power.

Once an ultranationalist, Vucic has solidified his grip on power by reinventing himself as a reformer committed to Serbia's drive toward European Union membership.

He has strengthened his party's position through the ballot box, calling and winning two early parliamentary elections since 2014.

Although Vucic once opposed integration with the EU, he is now pledging to prepare the country and its 7.3 million inhabitants for EU accession by 2019.

The protesters, however, allege that Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party are corrupt and stole the election.

Protests have been staged on a daily basis since the election, except during the Easter weekend.

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