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Serbia's Vucic nominates ally Vucevic as prime minister designate

Meeting of the leaders from the Western Balkans, in Skopje

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Saturday nominated his close ally Milos Vucevic to be prime minister and to lead a new government through a time of war in Europe and tensions with Kosovo.

The nomination comes more than three months after their party, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), won the most votes in a national election on Dec. 17. Vucevic took over leadership of the party after Vucic stepped down last year.

"I propose to parliament Milos Vucevic as candidate for prime minister of Serbia," Vucic wrote on Instagram.

A lawyer by profession, Vucevic was deputy prime minister and defence minister in the government of his predecessor Ana Brnabic.

The ruling party has 113 seats in the 250-seat parliament and will have to seek partners to form a government. The Socialists and the List Of Vojvodina Hungarians, both traditional partners of the SNS, have 13 and six deputies respectively.

Vucevic is expected to form a government in the coming weeks. It will face a difficult task in balancing Serbia's ties with Russia and China against its aspiration to join the European Union.

Although Serbia, which has candidate status for EU membership, has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations, it refused to join sanctions against Moscow.

The government will also have have to resolve issues with the country's former province of Kosovo, seen as vital for progress in EU membership talks.

(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; editing by Giles Elgood)