MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. Serbia’s policy towards European integration backed by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who won presidential election, is not an obstacle for developing relations between Moscow and Belgrade, Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Monday.
"As for European integration, which has been consistently supported by Aleksandar Vucic, I’m sure that it is not an obstacle for developing relations with Russia," said Slutsky, who chairs Russia’s State Duma International Affairs Committee.
"We will hope that if Serbia joins the European Union, Belgrade will continue calling for expanding the EU’s contacts with Moscow," the lawmaker said, adding that the Serbian prime minister’s victory in the presidential election will bring stability to the traditionally friendly relations with Russia.
"Serbia is our strategic partner in the Balkan region. That’s why we hope that if the new president comes to power, the policy towards developing the Russian-Serbian dialogue will remain unchanged," Slutsky stressed.
After processing over 90% of the ballots, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is winning Serbia’s presidential election securing 55.09% of the votes. According to the election commission, former ombudsman Sasa Jankovich ranks second with 16.26% of the vote. He is followed by comedian and political activist Luka Maksimovic with 9.04%, former Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic with 5.33% and leader of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj with 4.47%.
The Serbian president is elected to a five-year tenure and cannot hold office for more than two terms. The head of state represents the country in international affairs, nominates the prime minister who is to be approved by the parliament. The president also signs laws or vetoes them, appoints ambassadors, issues pardons and awards, and is Serbia’s supreme commander-in-chief.