Conservative Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic won a presidential election Sunday with a landslide majority, taking 58 percent of the votes and avoiding a run-off, according to a result projection.
Vucic's nearest rival, opposition candidate Sasa Jankovic, took 14 percent of the votes, the Ipsos polling group said, based on 40 percent of votes counted from a sample of polling stations.
The result confirmed Vucic's almost unchallenged domination of the Balkan country, which he wants to take into the European Union while preserving strong ties with fellow Orthodox Christian Russia.
The role of president is largely ceremonial, but Vucic is expected to retain real power through his control of Serbia's ruling Progressive Party. To his supporters, Vucic, 47, is a cool head and a firm hand in a troubled region.
"I voted for stability, we've had enough wars," said Bozica Ivanovic, a 65-year-old pensioner who voted for Vucic. "We need more jobs for younger people and if we can get higher pensions and salaries, even better."
Vucic's opponents, however, say he has an authoritarian streak that has led him to take control over the media in Serbia since his party rose to power in 2012 and he became prime minister three years ago.