Serbia swears in new prime minister | News | DW | 27.04.2014
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Serbia swears in new prime minister

The Serbian parliament has voted in support of the conservative Aleksandar Vucic as the country's new prime minister. He has pledged reforms to rejuvenate the country's economy.

Vucic and his 18-member Cabinet were backed by the Serbian parliament in a 198-23 vote with six abstentions on Sunday. A swearing-in ceremony followed the vote in Belgrade.

The new prime minister, whose Progressive Party won a mandate after elections in March saw it take 158 of 250 parliamentary seats, has pledged to overhaul Serbia's economy.

In a speech to parliament on Sunday, Vucic vowed to "reform how the economy works" between mid-2014 and 2017.

"We will develop the private sector ... and make working there more appealing than work for the state," he said, adding that the government must stop "wasting money." Vucic said Serbia had spent 7.5 billion euros ($10.3 billion) more than it had earned in the past five years. The new government plans to balance the 2014 budget in June.

The planned reforms will likely drastically cut public spending with an eye to gaining new credit with the International Monetary Fund. Another looming task is to improve ties with the European Union - complicated by Serbia's touchy relationship with Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

Serbia has since agreed to normalize relations with Kosovo, which led to the start of EU accession talks earlier this year.

mz/mkg (AP, AFP, dpa)

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