Europe

Serbia's powerful PM favored to win presidential election

  • Current Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic, right, casts his ballot with his daughter Milica at a polling station, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Around 6.7 million voters in Serbia choose a new president in an election Sunday that will test the popularity of the dominant, populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, against 10 beleaguered candidates from the fragmented opposition. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    Current Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic, right, casts his ballot with his daughter Milica at a polling station, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Around 6.7 million voters in Serbia choose a new president in an election Sunday that will test the popularity of the dominant, populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, against 10 beleaguered candidates from the fragmented opposition. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Current Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic, right, prepares his ballot with his daughter Milica at a polling station, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Around 6.7 million voters in Serbia choose a new president in an election Sunday that will test the popularity of the dominant, populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, against 10 beleaguered candidates from the fragmented opposition. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    Current Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic, right, prepares his ballot with his daughter Milica at a polling station, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Around 6.7 million voters in Serbia choose a new president in an election Sunday that will test the popularity of the dominant, populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, against 10 beleaguered candidates from the fragmented opposition. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Current Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic, left, prepares his ballot at a polling station, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Around 6.7 million voters in Serbia choose a new president in an election Sunday that will test the popularity of the dominant, populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, against 10 beleaguered candidates from the fragmented opposition. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    Current Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic, left, prepares his ballot at a polling station, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Around 6.7 million voters in Serbia choose a new president in an election Sunday that will test the popularity of the dominant, populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, against 10 beleaguered candidates from the fragmented opposition. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

Voters in Serbia are casting ballots in a presidential election seen as a test of public support for populist Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and his autocratic rule.

Vucic, an ultranationalist turned a pro-EU politician, is slated to win by a high margin against 10 opposition candidates. His political clout could face a blow, however, if he does not sweep his opponents in the first round of voting Sunday.

Vucic needs to win by more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election on April 16 that would put him in a much trickier position against a single opposition candidate.

Vucic, prime minister since 2014, is expected to use his win to appoint a figurehead successor and transform the presidency from a ceremonial office into a more muscular role.