Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic received about 55 percent of the votes. His nearest rival, Sasa Jankovic, trailed with just over 16 percent in Serbia's presidential election.

Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday celebrates his win in Serbia's presidential election. (April 2, 2017)
Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday celebrates his win in Serbia's presidential election. (April 2, 2017)

Conservative Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday won Serbia's presidential election, taking about 55 percent of the votes.

The election result has confirmed Vucic's domination of the Balkan country as he pursues a balancing act between Europe and Russia.

Zoran Kusovac in Belgrade has this report for TRT World.

Unrivalled power & threat of authoritarianism

"For me it is important this election demonstrated that a large majority of Serbian citizens favours the continuation of the European path while maintaining close ties with China and Russia," said Vucic.

His nearest rival, opposition candidate and former rights advocate Sasa Jankovic, trailed wtih just over 16 percent, according to two projections by polling groups CRTA and Ipsos.

25-year-old student Luka Maksimovic, who ran as a white-suited parody of a sleazy political fraudster called Ljubisa "Beli" Preletacevic, came in third with just over nine percent.

The result marked a political humiliation for opposition parties.

"Real victim again is our fragile democracy and whole generation of people, qualified, educated, capable, democratic who will have no other way but to leave this country," said opposition activist Tanja Petovar.

Vucic will take on the largely ceremonial post at the end of May, but is expected to retain de facto power through his control of the ruling Progressive Party.

Vucic's critics accuse him of increasing authoritarianism since his party rose to power in 2012 and he became prime minister three years ago.

He denies the charge but has struggled to shake it given his record when last in government, in the dying days of Yugoslavia. Then, in his late 20s, Vucic was Serbia's feared information minister behind legislation designed to muzzle criticism of the government during the 1998-99 Kosovo war.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies