Serbia’s ruling populists of President Aleksandar Vucic swept the municipal election in the capital of Belgrade Sunday, further cementing an already tight grip on power in the country. Preliminary results by the Ipsos polling agency and carried by Serbian state TV, projected that Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party won around 45 percent of the votes, while the main opponents — groups behind former Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas — trailed with some 19 percent. “This is the best result ever in Belgrade,” Vucic told supporters. “This victory wasn’t easy to achieve!”
The Belgrade vote was for local offices only, but it’s considered important because of the city’s key role in Serbia’s economy and politics. Official results are due Monday, but they are not expected to differ much from the preliminary projections.
Some 1.6 million voters were eligible to elect Belgrade’s 110-member assembly, which appoints the mayor. Two dozen parties and groups competed, but only four appeared to have passed the 5 percent threshold needed to enter the assembly.
Serbia’s fractured opposition parties had hoped to mount a challenge to Vucic in the traditionally liberal capital city.