Serbia's government has formally asked the president to dissolve Parliament and schedule early elections, saying the vote would secure popular support for quicker reform in the troubled Balkan country.

Tuesday's move means the vote is likely to be held on March 16, when local elections are also due in the capital Belgrade.

The snap vote is expected to cement the populist Serbian Progressive Party's grip on power. The party is the most popular in the country, but its leader Aleksandar Vucic currently holds the post of deputy prime minister in the coalition government.

Vucic has said he wants to speed up painful reform so Serbia can advance in the EU membership bid.