North Macedonia’s center-right leader given official mandate to form government after election win

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — North Macedonia’s president on Thursday formally asked center-right leader Hristijan Mickoski to form a new government following his victory in last month’s parliamentary elections.

A coalition led by Mickoski’s VMRO-DPMNE party won just over 43% of the vote in t he May 8 elections, gaining 58 of parliament’s 120 seats, three short of the number needed to govern alone.

In a presidential runoff held the same day, the VMRO-DPMNE-backed candidate, 70-year-old law professor Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, became the first woman to be elected as the country’s head of state.

After weeks of negotiations, Mickoski announced an initial coalition government deal with the ethnic Albanian Vredi, or Worth, party which has 14 lawmakers and the small leftist ZNAM, which has six.

Mickoski now has 20 days to form a government, but said Thursday he hopes to do so much faster, setting June 10 as the target for getting his Cabinet approved in parliament.

The country’s new parliament was convened on May 28 and elected Afrim Gashi from the Vredi party as its speaker.

Handing the mandate to Mickoski on Thursday, Siljanovska-Davkova said the outcome of his coalition-building talks, and Gashi being backed by 76 lawmakers, meant the VMRO-DPMNE leader “has a serious opportunity to form a government.”

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