North Macedonia's president on Thursday handed a mandate to pro-Western ex-prime minister Zoran Zaev to form a new government after his party bloc narrowly won a July 15 election.
"I will lead a government that will not ... veer away from the road leading to membership of the European Union after obtaining membership of NATO," Zaev said.
The former partners in the last coalition government in North Macedonia, the Social Democrats, SDSM, of Zoran Zaev, and the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, led by Ali Ahmeti, are engaged in substantial talks on a new government, amid speculation that talks might be stuck over the DUI's insistence on an ethnic Albanian prime minister.
Thousands of opposition supporters marched peacefully through North Macedonia's capital Skopje late Tuesday to protest what they claim was interference in the judiciary by the country's former prime minister.
The protest to the Supreme Court building was organized by the conservative main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party amid campaigning for early parliamentary elections on April 12.