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Macedonian Conservatives Fail To Form Government With Ethnic Albanians

Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski greeting supporters last year.

Macedonia's conservative leader has failed to reach a deal with his traditional ethnic Albanian allies to form a new government as the midnight deadline expired on January 29.

Early on January 30, former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's party, VMRO-DPMNE called for new elections and warned against any solution that would not include his party.

The VRMO narrowly won early elections on December 11, capturing 51 of the 120 seats, two more than their rival, the Social Democratic Union of macedonia (SDSM).

Under Macedonia's constitution, if the party that won the election fails to form a government, the president then gives the task to the second-largest party, in this case the SDSM.

"A coalition agreement with the [ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration] has not been reached ... The VMRO considers that holding new elections is the mature solution to overcome the crisis and set reform priorities," Gruevski's party said.

"Any other solution would lead only to new conflicts ... in an already divided society," it added.

The largest ethnic Albanian political party, the DUI, said it was unable to make a "clear decision" on a coalition with the conservatives.

Ethnic Albanians make up about one-quarter of Macedonia's population.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa