According to opinion polls by Ipsos and CeSID, based on selective counting of votes at polling stations, Alexander Vucic will win the presidential election on April 3 with a result of 59.8% of votes.

Opposition candidate Zdravko Ponos, a retired army general representing the pro-European and centrist Alliance for Victory coalition, will take second place with 17.1% of the vote.

According to Ipsos and CeSID forecasts, in the parliamentary elections, Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) will take first place with 43.6% of the vote, and the opposition alliance United for Victory will receive 12.9%.

The Socialist Party of Serbia, a longtime ally of the SNS, is in third place with 11.6% of the vote. The right-wing coalition of Nada (Hope) and Moramo (We Must), an alliance of green movements and parties, won about 5.4% and 4.3% of the votes, respectively.

Nevertheless, the SNS will most likely not be able to secure enough seats in the 250-seat parliament to govern on its own; it will have to look for coalition partners.

According to preliminary data of the State Election Commission, the turnout in the elections was 58.54%.

Aleksandar Vucic ran for a second five-year term, promising peace and stability just at the moment when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, which put Serbia in a difficult situation, forcing it to choose between traditional ties with Moscow and the desire to join the European Union.

Vucic acknowledged that the conflict in Ukraine had affected his election campaign, and said that Serbia does not plan to deviate from its line, balancing between an application for EU membership and close ties with Russia and China, a major investor in Serbia.

“We will adhere to the policy that is important for Europeans, Russians and Americans, and this… military neutrality… Serbia will try to maintain friendly and partnership relations with Russia in many areas,” Vucic said.

Serbia is almost completely dependent on Russian gas, and its army maintains close ties with the Russian one. The Kremlin also supports Belgrade’s negative position towards the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, blocking the country’s membership in the UN.

Serbia supported two UN resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but did not impose sanctions against Moscow.

The opposition accused Vucic of using the war in Ukraine to exploit the fears of voters. Human rights activists also accuse Vucic of an autocratic style of government, corruption, nepotism, censorship in the media, attacks on political opponents and links with organized crime. Vucic and his party deny these accusations.