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Serbia's pro-EU parties get strong majority in elections

PM Aleksandar Vucic's Progressive Party (SNS) has won a clear mandate to pursue reforms to advance the Balkan nation's EU bid. Pro-Russian nationalist parties also entered parliament alongside other pro-EU groups.

The SNS won 48.2 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, the state election commission said Monday, a result that will give Vucic's party a majority of seats in the 250-member parliament.

Pulling in second, the Socialist Party (SPS) received 11 percent. The SPS was a junior partner in the outgoing governing coalition, but it was unclear whether the two parties would work together again.

Vucic called the elections mid-way through his four-year term, saying he needed a mandate to

push through reforms

and advance EU membership talks.

Three pro-Western opposition parties - the Democratic Party, Social Democrats and new reformist party Dosta Je Bilo (It's Enough) - also passed at or slightly above the five percent threshold to enter parliament.

But the election also saw two pro-Russian nationalist parties enter parliament.

The Radical Party (SRS) of

Vojislav Seselj

obtained 8 percent, bringing it into parliament after a two-year absence. Seselj was last month acquitted by a UN court of war crimes associated with the 1990s Balkan conflict. Although the SRS only received a small fraction of the vote, Seselj could still be an obstinate thorn in the side of parliament.

The far-right Dveri movement will also enter parliament for the first time after clearing the five percent threshold.

Watch video 02:56

Serbian nationalist acquitted of war crimes

cw/kms (AP, dpa)

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