Macedonia's Gruevski Handed Mandate to Form GovtSoutheast Europe | January 9, 2017, Monday // 16:23| views
Macedonia's former PM and VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski. File photo, EPA/BGNES
VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski has been given a mandate to form the next government of Macedonia, state-run MIA news agency reports.
Gruevski's conservative party, leading a coalition in the snap parliamentary election in December, got the biggest number of votes, but won the poll only by a small margin.
Conservatives may be facing a tough task while trying to form a stable majority.
VMRO-DPMNE now has only 51 lawmakers, two more seats in Macedonia's Parliament than left-wing SDSM.
The Democratic Union of Albanians (DUI) of Ali Ahmeti remains the biggest ethnic Albanian party in the new legislature, with 10 seats, the other three parties - Besa, the Alliance of Albanians, and DPA - having a total of ten seats.
Gruevski will now have a 20-day deadline to form a coalition.
All four Albanian parties but DPA announced last week a joint platform they would offer during the coalition negotiations.
Their program includes the introduction of Albanian as an official language, economic equality, inclusion of Albanians in the workgroup on the name dispute with Greece, and a swift integration of Macedonia into the EU and NATO.