Alexander Vusic and Serbia’s ruling SNS on their way to victory in the election

Serbian President Aleksandar Vuিকi was on his way to re-election on Sunday, with his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) gearing up to garner the most votes in a performance that would allow the Conservative leader of the people to consolidate power in a second term.

Polstar Ipsos and CESID predict that Vukik will gain about 60 percent of the vote after a relatively high turnout, with official results expected in the coming days. If confirmed, Vucic will be able to avoid a run-off for the second consecutive election.

“A huge thank you to the citizens of Serbia,” he said. “I am extremely proud and extremely happy. . . I believe in a significant and credible victory and I believe everyone deserves it. “

Vucic, a former ultra-nationalist who rose to prominence as propaganda minister under former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, campaigned for a message of stability after Serbia’s traditional ally Russia invaded Ukraine.

He is under intense international pressure to resist sanctions against Russia, which has made him one of the few European leaders to back down.

With a significant portion of his constituents sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s campaign against Kiev, which bombed Belgrade during the 1999 Yugoslav war, and dissatisfaction with the West, Vusik is not expected to change that position dramatically.

Milos Damjanovic, an analyst at BIRN Consulting in Belgrade, said “there is no possibility of a quick turn on Russia’s sanctions.” “Vusk will want to play for the time being and avoid aligning with sanctions on Russia as long as possible, in the hope that the war in Ukraine will end or end.”

How long Vucic can uphold that policy will depend on whether the EU and the US tolerate Belgrade’s non-alignment of sanctions, Damjanovic said, adding that Western dissent would run counter to Serbian public opinion and the country’s reliance on Russian power.

Russian companies own most of Serbia’s energy sector, controlling the country’s gas supply through its largest gas storage facility and the new Turkstream pipeline. Serbia’s long-term gas supply agreement needs to be renegotiated by July.

Vusik will also benefit from the victory of his close ally, Hungarian Premier Victor Urban, who also won re-election on Sunday.

“Vusk must be satisfied with Urban’s victory, because the Hungarian leader was a strong supporter of Vusk and Serbia in the EU,” Damjanovic said.

Before the Ukraine war overtook other issues, Serbs protested against Vusik in a series of ballooning demonstrations for inadequate environmental protection and flexibility towards multinational companies, forcing Vusik to make a U-turn at a lithium mine that was one of the country’s largest investment projects. .

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