BELGRADE, Serbia, March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Calling on the nation to unite behind his party "to complete the transformation of Serbia into a modern economy with European living standards," Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić today set early Parliamentary elections for April 24.
Mr. Vučić's Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) was elected in 2014. In his announcement today he said over the past two years Serbia had turned its back on "the disastrous old ways we inherited" of populism and chauvinism and now needed to move forward.
"For that we need another full term to continue the reforms and complete the transformation of Serbia into a modern economy, with European living standards, which can offer a decent place for raising children," he said.
In a nationally televised announcement on the RTS network, Mr. Vučić said:
"I will tell you what I want to achieve in the next four years - I want our education and health system to reach a modern European level. I want every person in Serbia to have decent job so we can eradicate poverty and offer families a higher living standard. We have to continue our fight against corruption and establish our country with one rule of law for all.
"These are all very big challenges. They are not easy but if we all stay united together we can deliver on that. For that we need another full term to continue the reforms and complete the transformation of Serbia into a modern economy, with European living standards, which can offer a decent place for raising children."
In the last election, on April 27, 2014, the SNS party won 158 of the parliament's 250 seats. In that campaign, the SNS promised to stabilize the nation and begin to rebuild. Since then, there has been considerable progress.
The country officially exited the recession and recorded 0.8% growth for 2015, expected to continue towards double-digit numbers in 2016 and 2017. Central government deficit for this year will remain below the 3% Maastricht rule and the acceleration of the growth in public debt has been stemmed, intended to start declining in 2017.
The official unemployment rate of 3Q 2015 stood at 16.7%, coming down from 20.9% in 2Q 2014. The Government Statistics Office indicates that in 2015 alone, 80,000 new jobs were created.
Despite the cuts in public sector salaries, overall the country's wages remained stable, pointing to a healthy increase in private sector salaries in 2015.
The Government attracted EUR1.7B of foreign direct investment in 2015 thanks to increased credibility among investors. Government investment increased, resulting mainly in completing overdue infrastructure works around the country - 300 km of newly paved or reconstructed highways and new bridges. Only recently the World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business" index indicated that Serbia has made a significant jump in two years from 91st to 59th place.
"The hard work is starting to pay off and there is room for optimism," Mr. Vučić said. "2016 will be better for citizens, and 2017 even better, with dynamic growth as a result of the reforms and of even more in foreign investment. We will deliver on a four-year plan to bring Serbia to European standards of living: a decent job, a modern health system, good education, and one rule of law for all. This year-by-year plan will give young people and young families stability and hope to build their future in Serbia."
About the Serbian Progressive Party
Founded in 2008 by a breakaway group from the Serbian Radical Party, the SNS aimed to draw a line under the country's challenging post-war legacy in order to pursue Serbia's ambitious plans towards membership of the European Union. As party leader, Aleksandar Vučić has made strong progress on modernizing the Serbian economy by positioning the country as a key investment hub in the region. Serbia has emerged as an attractive business destination due to a number of government led policies and initiatives. Building on the strength of its partnerships with its neighbours, Serbia under Mr. Vučić's leadership aims to see EU entry by 2020 and position itself as a key political and economic player in Europe.
Further information: Aleksandar Belevski - email@example.com or +381-63-8262241
SOURCE Serbian Progressive Party