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Serbian Prime Minister Calls For Early Elections

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic

Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has announced that he wants to hold early elections this year in an apparent bid to cement his power.

"It is my decision ... to go for elections, for the future of Serbia," Vucic said on January 17. "Serbia should say whether it wants to join the European Union."

Vucic told his Serbian Progressive Party's meeting that the vote is necessary so a new, stable government with a full four-year term can step up economic reforms to put Serbia firmly on the path to EU membership.

Vucic's conservative party won a landslide victory in the last election in March 2014.

The party still enjoys strong poll ratings despite cuts in public sector wages and pensions as part of a drive to stabilize Serbia's finances and prepare it for European Union membership.

Serbia's ruling coalition also includes the Socialists and several smaller groups.

Vucic didn't say when the snap elections would be held, but media reported that April 24 was the most likely date.

Vucic has also maintained strong ties with Russia, Serbia's traditional ally.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters

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