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17:35, 23 September 2017 Saturday
20:28, 09 February 2017 Thursday

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Macedonia has 'no time to waste' in forming govt: EU
Macedonia has 'no time to waste' in forming govt: EU

Macedonia's crisis erupted in February 2015 when a mass wiretapping scandal incited huge street protests for and against the government, forcing the EU to step in.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The European Union urged Macedonia on Thursday to form a new government as soon as possible, with the Balkan country mired in political stalemate following an inconclusive early election in December. 

The vote was held as part of a EU-brokered deal between Macedonia's four main political parties and aimed to end a long-running crisis, but none of them secured a majority and a coalition deal has yet to be struck.

"It is important to stress that elections are not the end of the process," EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters during a two-day visit.

"The earlier there is a government in place the better it is. There is no further time to waste."

Former premier Nikola Gruevski stepped down a year ago after nearly a decade in power to pave the way for new elections.

His conservative VMRO-DPMNE party secured 51 seats in the 120-seat parliament -- or two more than the main opposition Social Democrats (SDSM) -- but he has failed to reach a deal with ethnic Albanian parties, who have a kingmaker role.

President Gjorge Ivanov subsequently told SDSM leader Zoran Zaev that he would be appointed prime minister-designate once he secured the support of 61 MPs.

Macedonia wants to join both NATO and the EU, but its membership has been blocked by Athens over a dispute about the country's name -- a northern region of Greece is also called Macedonia.

Ethnic Albanians make up about 25 percent of Macedonia's two million people.

 



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