Serbia’s powerful Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic claimed victory Sunday in the presidential election that was a test of his authoritarian rule, an outcome that could expand Russia’s influence in the Balkans. Speaking to supporters at his right-wing party’s headquarters, Vucic said, “My victory is crystal clear. This is a very important day for us, showing which way Serbia should be heading.” … While Vucic has said he wants to lead Serbia into the European Union, he has been pushing for deeper ties to longtime ally Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed him.
Right before the election, Vucic visited Putin, who reportedly promised his signature on the delivery of fighter planes, battle tanks and armored vehicles to Serbia. The move triggered fears of an arms race in the western Balkans, which Russia considers its sphere of influence.
Vucic claimed victory after projections by different independent polling agencies had him receiving more than 55 percent of the votes cast during Sunday’s election. Liberal challenger Sasa Jankovic placed second with 15 percent and Luka Maksimovic, a media student who ran as a parody politician, came in third with 9 percent, according to the pollsters.
Official results are expected Monday.
Full Article: Serbia Elections: Vucic Claims Landslide Victory | Time.com.