Serb Premier Considering Early General Vote, Tanjug Reports

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Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is considering triggering a parliamentary election three years early, state-owned news service Tanjug reported.

No final decision has been taken on a snap vote, Vucic told Tanjug on Wednesday. A day earlier, his junior ruling partners in the Socialist Party said the country needs political stability and that it was not the one to decide on whether to hold early polls. The current assembly was elected last year to a four-year term.

Vucic, whose Serbian Progressive Party holds 136 seats in the 250-member parliament, said opposition factions are excited about the prospect of an early election, “so their wish may come true,” Tanjug reported.

The prime minister may try to use an early election to squeeze the Socialists out of the coalition or consolidate power before pushing further to overhaul the economy and avoid a fourth economic recession since 2009, according to Dejan Vuk Stankovic, an independent political analyst. Vucic has pledged to restructure or shut down more than 500 mostly unprofitable companies that employ tens of thousands of Serbs and drain more than $1 billion from state coffers each year.

Difficult Decisions

“He needs an additional injection of political legitimacy before taking some difficult reform and political decisions,” Stankovic said by phone. A vote will also clarify the balance of power within the Progressive Party, whose top members hold key posts in Serbia, including President Tomislav Nikolic and central bank Governor Jorgovanka Tabakovic, Stankovic said.

The dinar was little changed at 119.99 against the euro at 3:18 p.m. in Belgrade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield on Serbia’s dollar bonds maturing in 2021 was steady at 4.810 percent.

Vucic’s party wants the snap elections to happen in December, when votes for the regional parliament in the province of Vojvodina and local governments are scheduled, and when govt expects to open the first chapters of EU accession talks, newspaper Danas reported on Tuesday, citing people it didn’t name.

Support for Vucic’s party stood at 51 percent at end-July, according to pollster Faktor Plus.