New Serbian Parliament convenes, with far-right groups back | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New Serbian Parliament convenes, with far-right groups back

June 03, 2016 - 6:14 AM

BELGRADE, Serbia - Serbian lawmakers — including far-right groups who returned to Parliament — met on Friday for the first time since elections in April, paving the way for the formation of the new government.

The assembly is dominated by the pro-European Union Serbian Progressive Party of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who won 131 of 250 seats in the Apr. 24 snap vote.

Vucic had called the early election, saying he wants a new four-year mandate to push forward the economic and political changes needed to move closer to achieving European Union membership. Vucic, who despite his pro-EU outlook has faced accusations of adopting hardline policies, said Friday that the new government could be formed in mid-June.

"We will know by the end of next week who will be in the government," he added.

Vucic's previous Cabinet also included the Socialists, but it was not clear whether the party will be part of the future government.

The Socialists now hold 29 parliamentary seats, while the extremist Serbian Radical Party led by firebrand nationalist Vojislav Seselj, who was recently acquitted of war crimes by a U.N. court, returned to Parliament as the third-strongest group with 22 seats.

Seselj said Friday that "we could support Vucic's government only if it abolishes the EU bid and turns to integration with Russia instead."

Several lawmakers from another pro-Russian group, the Dveri party, wore Serbian national costumes to Friday's session.

Serbia has sought to join the EU following years of wars and international isolation in the 1990s'. But the Balkan country also maintains close ties with traditional ally Moscow.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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