Serbia's ruling center-right populist party says it wants to hold early parliamentary elections to push for economic reforms and cement its grip on power.

The leader of the Serbian Progressive Party and deputy prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, said Saturday he wants to "test the will of the people" in the polls that are likely to be held in March.

The former pro-Russian ultranationalists turned pro-EU reformers are the most popular party in Serbia. Vucic hopes the early vote will give him a mandate to become the prime minister and rule without the support of the Socialists, whose leader, Ivica Dacic, is the current premier.

Vucic, a proponent of Serbia's war campaigns in the 1990s, gained popularity because of his highly publicized anti-corruption campaign.

Serbia held its last parliamentary vote in May 2012.