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Macedonian Prime Minister Resigns

15 November 2004 -- Macedonian Prime Minister Hari Kostov has resigned unexpectedly.

Kostov said today he is stepping down because of disagreements with one of the ruling coalition's ethnic Albanian partners, the Albanian Union for Integration. He acccused the party of promoting partisan interests.

Only a week ago, Kostov had led his coalition's successful drive to defeat a referendum that would have blocked reforms to assure civil rights and increased power for minority ethnic Albanians.

He had threatened to resign if the nationalist-backed referendum succeeded. It failed. But now, he has resigned anyway. His resignation must be approved by parliament.

Kostov said today that preoccupation with minority rights issues is interfering with essential reforms.