MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Serbia's Prime Minister Alexandar Vucic was victorious in the presidential election, held on Sunday, with 55.13 percent of the votes after 91.39 percent of ballots were counted.
Vucic's win was not surprising, as he was the favorite in the race, according to opinion polls in the country. However, the date of the second round of the election was scheduled for April 16, provided that none of the hopefuls receive 50 percent or higher of all votes.
Apart from Vucic, the electoral commission registered 10 other candidates that participated in the election, including independent candidates Sasa Jankovic, Vuk Jeremic, and Luka Maksimovic (also known as Ljubisa Beli Preletacevic), as well as Serbian Radical Party head Vojislav Seselj.
Addressing supporters, Vucic said that it was significant that the margin was wide, and that the victory was indisputable.
"It was important that the victory had to be crystal-clear. So that nobody could think something. The margin is significant," Vucic said.
He also vowed to continue pro-European policy while also maintaining friendly relations with Russia and China.
Many top world officials congratulated Vucic Monday on winning the presidential election.
"Such convincing victory in the elections evidences a broad support of your efforts aimed at resolving current economic and social issues which Serbia faces, at leading a constructive balanced foreign policy path," Putin said in a congratulatory telegram to Vucic.
Vucic's victory appeals to Moscow, as he is known to support the developing of ties with Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on the issue.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini congratulated Vucic, adding that the European Union would keep a close eye on the follow-up to his election.
"Congratulations to Vucic that turns now president and not prime minister anymore. We’ve seen yesterday a very clear result in the Serbs elections, so I take this opportunity to congratulate him and wish him all the best in his new capacity. And obviously we will follow closely the follow-up of this presidential election in Serbia," Mogherini said.
"We would like to congratulate you on your election as President of Serbia, confirming the strong support you enjoy among the population of your country. This vote of confidence shows that the people of Serbia fully endorse the European path you have chosen and which will lead to EU membership," the statement read.
In 2007, Serbia started accession to the European Union, applying for membership to the bloc in 2009. Negotiations commenced in 2014 and are ongoing.