New Macedonian government in place
The Macedonian parliament backed the incumbent Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's new coalition government late Thursday, nearly two months after his conservative VMRO-DPMNE party won the most votes in elections, dpa reported.
The coalition of VMRO and the Democratic Union for Integration of ethnic Albanians was supported by 70 out of the 123 lawmakers in a vote held shortly before midnight.
It is Gruevski's third term in the office since 2006.
The 40-year-old premier promised rapid economic growth, accelerated reforms and progress toward joining the European Union, which formally recognized Macedonia as a membership candidate in 2005.
Opposition legislators, however, said that Gruevski had made the same promises five years ago and failed to fulfill them.
Macedonia has yet to implement many administrative and judiciary reforms, a precondition for a more efficient fight against rampant corruption and crime.
It is also embroiled in a crippling row with Athens over the name Macedonia, which Greece claims as its own. Because of the dispute, Greece blocked Macedonia from joining NATO in 2009, and has also vetoed the start of EU accession talks.