Serbia Pres. Dissolves Parliament

Serbia Pres. Dissolves Parliament

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) -- Serbia's president on Friday dissolved Parliament and scheduled an early election for April 24 as the ruling conservatives try to cement power amid deep economic problems and tensions created by the transit of tens of thousands of migrants through the country.

President Tomislav Nikolic said he signed the election decree Friday and added he would be happy if the ruling coalition led by the Serbian Progressive Party and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic wins the vote, which was called two years ahead of schedule.

Vucic, a former extreme nationalist turned pro-EU reformer, has said the early vote is necessary so that a new Cabinet with a clear mandate can pursue economic and other reforms needed for Serbia to become a European Union member.

All polls predict that Vucic's populists will comfortably win the vote, with the pro-Western opposition being too fractured to mount a serious challenge. The election is expected to see the rise of far-right pro-Russian groups that did not make it into the parliament in the last election in 2014.

(KA)