BELGRADE: Serbia's prime minister is warning the country could backslide into its dark past if far-right parties win an upcoming general election after receiving a boost from the acquittal of their leader Vojislav Seselj by a UN war crimes court.

The release of Seselj, who was charged with atrocities during the Balkan wars, could pave the way for the firebrand politician to become a key political powerbroker after the April 24 vote. With a surge in pro-Russian and right-wing sentiments in Serbia, Seselj's Serbian Radical Party has a good chance to return to parliament after missing out two years ago.

"Serbia is at a crossroads, political, economic and moral," Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Friday, adding that pre-election polls show his ruling populists "have never been closer to losing the election."