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Macedonia Approves Government That Includes Opposition

Protestors hold a portrait of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, depicted behind bars, during an antigovernment rally in Skopje earlier this year. The country has seen months of political turmoil following wiretapping allegations against the premier.

Macedonia's parliament has approved a cabinet reshuffle that includes members of the left-wing opposition in the government, part of a Western-brokered deal that ends a months-long political crisis.

The new government, which was approved by parliament on November 11, includes Social Democrat Oliver Spasovski as interior minister and gives the Labor Ministry portfolio to the opposition.

The Social Democrats will also be allowed to appoint three deputy ministers, including posts in the Agriculture and Finance ministries.

The agreement bringing the opposition into the government was reached in July following mediation by the EU and the United States.

The deal will also see Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party resigning by mid-January and early parliamentary elections held on April 24.

The agreement came following months of political turmoil in which Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev claimed Gruevski's government had illegally wiretapped 20,000 people, including police, judges, religious leaders, journalists, and foreign diplomats.

Gruevski denied the charges and blamed foreign spies for conducting the wiretapping.

The government also filed charges against Zaev and accused him of spying and trying to destabilize Macedonia.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP