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May 23, 10:10 AM EDT

Serbia's prime minister given mandate to form new government


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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) -- Serbia's president has given a mandate to incumbent Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to form a new government after his populist party comfortably won a parliamentary election.

After consulting with leaders of parties which have made it to parliament, President Tomislav Nikolic said Monday that Vucic was the only one who provided evidence that he has the parliamentary majority to form a government.

Vucic's right-wing Serbian Progressive Party won 48 percent of the seats in the 250-seat parliament. Despite the convincing victory, that is 27 seats fewer than in the previous general vote in 2014.

Vucic, a former staunch ultranationalist turned self-declared pro-EU reformer, is accused by the opposition of seeking authoritarian rule. Opponents also claimed numerous irregularities during the April vote.

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