Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s new cabinet was endorsed by parliament on Thursday (11 August) on a platform of stepping up reforms and completing EU accession talks in 2019 while maintaining close ties with Russia
Vucic, a centre-right leader and former ultra-nationalist who has been in power since 2014, won a comfortable majority in an April election but delayed forming a new cabinet while seeking a coalition to share responsibility for reforms.
He eventually renewed his coalition with the Socialists and retained largely the same team, including Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic, a former World Bank economist whose confirmation in the job signals a continuity in economic policy.
The government received the support of 163 lawmakers, while 62 voted against in the 250-seat parliament. New ministers will be sworn in later in the evening.
Vucic told parliament on Tuesday that exports and investment would both rise, leading to an overall 13% growth of the economy by the end of his new four-year term. The Balkan country’s debt will shrink to 60%of national output by 2020 from the current 72 percent, he said.
Serbia, the biggest market in the western Balkan region, is forecast to grow 2.5% in 2016, which places it among the most sluggish economies in the area.
In the otherwise largely unchanged government, Vucic appointed the country’s first openly gay minister. Ana Brnabic, ex-manager of Serbia’s subsidiary of an international wind park developer, was named minister for state administration.
Serbia’s Gay Straight Alliance called her appointment in the conservative Balkan country a historic decision.