Serbian PM urges early election in 2016 to cement power

Serbia's populist prime minister has urged holding an early election this year in an apparent bid to consolidate his power.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told his Serbian Progressive Party's meeting Sunday that the vote is necessary so a new, stable government can step up economic reforms. He says the current government has faced criticism from the opposition but also needs changes within the Cabinet.

He says "we need to let the people decide."

Serbia's ruling coalition holds a clear parliamentary majority, but Vucic apparently wants to cement his influence amid rumors of disagreements within his Progressive Party. His government also includes the Socialists and several smaller groups.

Vucic has pledged to seek EU membership, but has maintained strong ties with Russia as well.

No immediate election date has been set.