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Macedonian Parliament To Debate, Vote On New Government This Week

Macedonian Social Democratic Union leader Zoran Zaev is set to end the 11-year reign of the ruling nationalists.

The Macedonian parliament is scheduled to start debating the installation of a new cabinet in the final step toward an historic transfer of power in the Balkan state.

Social Democratic Union leader Zoran Zaev sent his picks for the new 26-member cabinet on May 29, made up of members of his party and two small ethnic Albanian parties that joined with him to form a governing coalition that controls 62 parliamentary seats.

A confidence vote on the proposed government is expected by midnight on May 31. Engulfed in a long-running political crisis, Macedonia has been governed by a caretaker cabinet since January 2016.

When Zaev takes over as prime minister, it will mark the end of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party's 11-year reign.

Former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's party won December's snap elections, but did not win enough seats to form a governing majority by itself. It holds 51 of parliament's 120 seats.

For months after the inconclusive elections, Gruevski, who is facing a corruption investigation, tried to force new elections, despite Zaev having secured a new majority with the ethnic Albanian parties.

Zaev faces challenges after years of neglected reforms stalled Macedonia's progress toward joining the European Union.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa