Monday, August 28, 2006

Westward-looking government formed in Macedonia

Skopje - The Macedonian parliament voted late Saturday for a new cabinet under new Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, chief of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party, according to media reports in Skopje.

The parliamentary approval followed a two-day debate.

The new government got 68 votes with 22 opposed in the 120-seat parliament. Numerous ethnic-Albanian legislators abstained from voting.

On Friday, about 5,000 Albanians protested outside the parliament building in a rally called by two Albanian parties, the DUI and PDP. The Albanian parties were shut out of the new government despite strong showings in the recent elections.

Gruevski's governing programme is aimed at raising living standards, boosting the economy, improving relations between ethnic Macedonians and the Albanian minority and fighting corruption. Integration into NATO and the European Union are among the new government's top goals.

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