Serbian Prime Minister and leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Aleksandar Vucic reacts after elections in Belgrade, Serbia April 24, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica(reuters_tickers)
BELGRADE (Reuters) - The creation of a new Serbian government will be postponed until after June 16, the date set earlier by country's prime minister-designate, who said on Tuesday the delay was caused by domestic political considerations and a visit by the Chinese president.
Aleksandar Vucic and an alliance led by his Serbian Progressive Party won an election on April 24, securing 131 deputies in the 250-seat parliament, enough to rule alone.
Vucic however wants a coalition partner to share responsibility for unpopular reforms, the implementation of a 1.2 billion euro (1 billion pounds) loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, and European Union membership talks.
Although negotiations are still in progress, the Socialist Party of the outgoing Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic is Vucic's most likely coalition partner.
On June 3, Vucic said the new government should be completed by June 16.
At a news conference in Belgrade, Vucic said the creation of his new cabinet would be delayed by the need to put in place a government in Serbia's northern Vojvodina province.
"Immediately after the creation of the provincial government, the new republic's government will be formed," Vucic said.
Vucic also said that a three-day visit by Chinese President President Xi Jinping, which begins on June 17, would also contribute to the delay, as parliamentary debate on the new government may not end before then.
Xi's visit is crucial for Serbia's efforts to attract more Chinese investment and secure growth.
"Should we enter parliament and cannot end that job by (June) 17 ... we would rather wait until the end of (Xi's) visit," Vucic said.
On Monday, an IMF mission and Serbia's caretaker government started a review of its compliance with the terms of the loan deal, a process set to last until June 21.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Giles Elgood)