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Serbian President Dissolves Parliament, Calls Early Elections

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic leaves a press conference in Belgrade on January 29 after calling early parliamentary elections.
BELGRADE -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has dissolved parliament and called early parliamentary elections.

In a statement on state-run RTS television on January 29, Nikolic announced the election will be held on March 16.

The move comes after the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), the strongest party in the ruling alliance, formally asked the president to call an early general election.

It said it needed a stronger mandate to accelerate reforms as the country moves ahead with its bid to join the European Union.

Analysts say the SNS, led by Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, wants to capitalize on strong public support after Serbia launched membership talks with the European Union on January 21.

The SNS is leading by a large margin in opinion polls, which means Vucic could replace Ivica Dacic as prime minister.

The mandate of the current parliament expires in two years.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP