Serbia's President-elect Aleksandar Vucic (2nd R) reviews guards of honor in Belgrade, Serbia, May 31, 2017. Vucic was elected for the role of president on April 2. (Xinhua/Predrag Milosavljevic)
BELGRADE, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Aleksandar Vucic, former prime minister of Serbia and leader of the ruling Progressive party, assumed office on Wednesday as Serbia's new president.
Vucic, who won the April 2 elections in the first round with 55.08 percent of votes, took the presidential oath of office at parliament and took over duty from outgoing president Tomislav Nikolic.
"A permanent, stable and fruitful peace in Serbia and the whole region is certainly one of the greatest priorities," Vucic said.
Vucic repeated that Serbia plans to maintain its neutrality, stick to its traditional friendships with China and Russia, and develop better relations with the United States, along with implementing necessary reforms on the EU path, for the sake of its own future.
"During the past several years, we have managed to build cordial relations with China which are warmer than ever before. They (Chinese company) helped us by taking over the Smederevo steel mill and saved thousands of jobs, as well as by participating in numerous infrastructural projects and those in the areas of energy and mining," Vucic said in his speech to MPs in parliament.
He said that changes in the country's constitution will be needed to continue the country's European integration, and that he will invest efforts into making them happen.
Vucic called for unity among Serbian people, and pledged to work together with the future government in achieving better standards for Serbia's citizens.
The 47-year-old served as PM in two consecutive terms from 2014 to 2017 and his new presidential mandate will last for five years.
On Tuesday, he submitted his resignation of the position of PM to the parliament. The new PM and government will be announced before his official inauguration, scheduled for June 23.