Macedonian MPs vote in new government after deadlock

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Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev (C) poses for photo with newly elected ministers at Macedonian parliament in Skopje, June 1, 2017Image source, Reuters
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Zoran Zaev, centre, says joining Nato and the EU will be a priority

Macedonia's parliament has endorsed a new government, ending political deadlock since inconclusive elections last December.

The new prime minister is Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev who has formed a coalition with ethnic Albanian parties.

He wants to hasten economic reform and efforts to join Nato and the EU.

Macedonia has been in political crisis for two years following a wire-tapping scandal.

The new government was voted in by 62 out of 120 MPs late on Wednesday.

"Our goal is EU and Nato membership in the shortest possible time," Mr Zaev told parliament as he outlined his government's priorities.

He formed his coalition some months ago after agreeing to support a bill making Albanian the country's second official language.

Thousands of Macedonians have taken to the streets protesting against the bill.

Mr Zaev tried to form a government in March but was blocked by President Gjorge Ivanov who accused him of threatening Macedonia's sovereignty.

Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's population.

The country came close to civil war in 2001 after an Albanian uprising.