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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Serbian Lawmakers to Elect A Pro-Western Government

BELGRADE -- Serbia's lawmakers convened Saturday to vote into office a new pro-Western government and replace a right-wing parliament speaker whose election has prompted fears that the Balkan republic was returning to its nationalist past.

The government vote is expected to end weeks of political turmoil in Serbia, only days before a May 15 deadline for key politicians to form a new government or face an early election this summer.

Serbian President Boris Tadic has named Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica as the premier-designate. Tadic said Friday that three pro-Western parties had reached a power-sharing deal to form a pro-European government.

The news was welcomed by Western governments and Serbia's neighbors who were alarmed by the election this week of ultranationalist leader Tomislav Nikolic to the post of parliament speaker -- the No. 2 position in the country.

The new parliamentary speaker had said Tuesday that Serbia should quit striving for closer ties with the West and turn to Russia.

"Russia will find a way to bring together nations that will stand up against the hegemony of America and of the European Union," Nikolic told the parliament after being named speaker.