Macedonia's Gruevski to Hand Back Govt Mandate to PresidentSoutheast Europe | January 30, 2017, Monday // 07:53| views
The Party of Ali Ahmeti (R) has failed to reach consensus on shaking hands with former Prime Minister Gruevski on Macedonia's new government. File photo, EPA/BGNES
VMRO-DPMNE of Nikola Gruevski and ethnic Albanian DUI party of Ali Ahmeti have not agreed to form a new government within the 20-day deadline which expired on Sunday.
No agreement has been reached on forming a new government between VMRO-DPMNE and DUI, state-run news agency MIA quotes Gruevski as saying.
Gruevski has also argued new elections are needed as any alliance not including his party, the biggest after the vote in December, will not bring stability.
The news website MKD.mk quotes DUI spokesperson Bujar Osmani as saying his party failed to take a decision on whether to join hands with VMRO-DPMNE. The talks among DUI officials continued until the deadline on midnight into Monday.
DUI had raised several issues as part of their negotiation platform, such as the use of the Albanian language as a second official language. Under the current legislation, in every municipality where Albanians are more than 20% of the population, Albanians can be used in the public communication.
The other key demand was to extend the Special Prosecutor's Office's mandate, which expires in a month.
Both discussions met harsh opposition from Gruevski.
However, some local media reports on Sunday suggested Gruevski was ready to backtrack on the use of Albanian language and on several appointments to the legislative and executive branches of power.
The DUI, on the other hand, was reportedly split over whether to work together with Gruevski, ones citing an unwritten agreement dating back to 2007 that provides for the biggest parties in the two ethnic blocs (Macedonian and Albanian) to form a coalition.
President Gjorge Ivanov will now hand government mandate to the leader of the second-largest party after the election, social-democrat SDSM, Zoran Zaev.
But some experts argue that the vague wording in the Constitution allow Ivanov to hand over the mandate to another Prime Minister candidate from the same party.
The next mandate bearer will have twenty more days to create a government.