Macedonia’s Social Democrats to form government with Albanian party support

Zoran Zaev, SDSM Party leader, on the right, and Johannes Hahn. Skopje, 9 February. [European Commission]

The leader of Macedonia’s Social Democrats said yesterday (23 February) he expected to be able to form a new government in March, having found an agreement with the biggest Albanian party over a law backing broader use of their language in the country.

After inconclusive parliamentary elections in December, the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party at the centre of the scandal tried but failed to reach an agreement with others to form a coalition cabinet.

EU tells Macedonian politicians to drag country out of crisis

European Union Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn yesterday (9 February) urged political parties in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to reach a swift agreement on the formation of a new government.

Social Democrats head Zoran Zaev said he had now secured the support of ethnic Albanian parties and expected to complete talks on forming a government in early March.

“Now we have to agree on the distribution of ministries and the future government reform platform,” Zaev told reporters while on a trip to Sarajevo.

“I am very optimistic that in the first half of March Macedonia will have a government led by Social Democrats,” he said.

The Balkan nation’s two-year political crisis was triggered by a wiretapping scandal that forced veteran VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski to resign a year ago.

Macedonian political parties agree December election after spy scandal

Macedonia’s political parties agreed yesterday (31 August) to hold an early parliamentary election on 11 December in a step to resolve the 18-month-long crisis over a wiretapping scandal.

The crisis was the worst since Western diplomacy helped drag the country of 2.1 million people back from the brink of civil war during an ethnic Albanian insurgency in 2001, promising it a path to membership of the European Union and NATO.

In the December poll, VMRO-DPMNE took 51 seats to the Social Democrats’ 49, neither winning enough of the 120 seats to form a government.

Crisis drags on as Macedonia fails to form government

Macedonia’s president on Monday (30 January) resumed the search for a new prime minister after the former premier failed to form a government, despite his party’s narrow election victory.

The country’s ethnic Albanian parties have made their support conditional on the passage of a law backing broader use of their language in the country.

On Wednesday evening (22 February), the Democratic Union of Integration, the biggest ethnic Albanian party in parliament, said it had agreed with the Social Democrats on such a law. It did not elaborate.

Albanian is currently an official language only in municipalities where Albanians account for more than 20% of the population.

Macedonia's Albanian minority parties to join election boycott

Two Albanian political parties in Macedonia said yesterday (11 May) they would join a boycott of parliamentary elections on 5 June, in order to protest government control over the media and state bodies, raising doubts about the viability of the poll.

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