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Macedonian President Asks Gruevski To Form New Government

VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski addresses the media in Skopje following last month's elections.

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov has asked the country's conservative leader and former prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, to form a new government based on the results of elections that were held in December.

Under Macedonia's constitution, January 9 was the last day for Ivanov to deliver the mandate.

The 46-year-old Gruevski now has until January 29 to submit a program and proposed cabinet members to parliament.

Gruevski, who headed the government from 2006 until January 2016, is the leader of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, which has 51 deputies in the 120-seat parliament. The opposition Social Democrats have 49 seats.

The remaining 20 seats are divided among parties representing the country's ethnic Albanian minority, and Gruevski will have to seek to form a coalition with at least one of them.

Gruevski's former coalition partner and longtime ally, the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (BDI), won 10 seats in parliament -- enough to form a majority coalition with the VMRO-DPMNE.

An ethnic Albanian party called the Besa Movement won five seats, while the Alliance for Albanians secured three seats, and the Democratic Party of Albanians won two.

With reporting by Reuters