October 18, 2015 / 9:20 PM / 2 years ago

Serbian PM decides against early election, for now

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic speaks during an interview with Reuters in Vienna, Austria, August 26, 2015.Heinz-Peter Bader

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's conservative prime minister said on Sunday he had decided against holding an early election for now, ending weeks of speculation.

Aleksandar Vucic had said he was considering going to the polls again, less than two years into his four-year mandate, to answer critics.

But on Sunday, Vucic told Serbia's Pink television he had decided against it, saying the government had more work ahead of it in stabilizing Serbia's finances, addressing relations with the former Serbian province of Kosovo and starting negotiations on accession to the European Union.

"At this moment, it would be irresponsible to hold elections," said Vucic, a former ultranationalist who has rebranded himself as a pro-Western reformer. "My decision is not to hold elections. Will they happen in six, seven, eight months from now? I can't know that now."

Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party governs in coalition with the smaller Socialists, and continues to enjoy strong poll ratings despite cutting public sector wages and pensions under a drive to rein in spending.

Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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