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21:01, 22 April 2018 Sunday
10:48, 02 April 2017 Sunday

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Serbs go to polls for presidential election
Serbs go to polls for presidential election

Nearly seven million voters will elect new president from among a total of 11 candidates

World Bulletin / News Desk

Serbian voters head to the polls on Sunday to choose the country's next president.

Nearly seven million voters will decide the new president from among a total of 11 candidates, according to the State Election Commission (RIK).

Serbian citizens living in the UK, Canada and the United States already voted on Saturday.

According to polls, Vucic -- nominated by an alliance led by the Serb Progressive Party (SNS) -- is expected to win the election in the first round with more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, former Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj and Serbian nationalist Dveri Movement leader Bosko Obradovic are running.

Jankovic is the closest rival to Vucic with an estimated 12 percent support.

According to polling data, the youngest candidate -- Luka Maksimovic -- is in third place having based his campaign on criticism of the current political system.

Polls also suggest voter turnout will be higher than in 2016’s general election.

The president of Serbia -- directly elected for five-year terms -- has largely a symbolic position but Vucic’s campaign has already suggested a change in the nature of the post.

After campaigning, if one of the candidates in the first round is unable to secure more than half of the vote, the election goes to a second round.

In the second round, the two candidates with the most votes from the first round will face off against each other. The candidate who receives the most votes in the second round wins.

However, if one of the candidates wins the elections in the first round, it will be the first time to happen since 1992 when Slobodan Milosevic won. Milosevic died in the Hague tribunal in 2006 after being accused for war crimes in Kosovo and Croatia and also genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Milosevic won 53 percent of votes in 1992.

Serbia is currently an EU candidate country but has opposed the implementation of sanctions against Russia.

The new president will be expected to deal with the current migrant crisis. There are currently about 7,000 migrants in Serbia, waiting for Hungary or Croatia to let them enter EU territory.

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