Zaev gets DUI backing, opens door for Albanian PM

North Macedonia's leftist leader Zoran Zaev is set for another term as PM after securing the backing of the ethnic Albanians DUI party, news wires reported. Under the deal, however, he is to stand down at the end of his term and have an Albanian run the government for 100 days ahead of the new election, which is due n 2024. Zaev's new cabinet is expected to be confirmed by the end of the week.

Zaev said he was "proud" of reaching the power-sharing deal nearly five weeks since the latest parliamentary election. Albanians make up more than a quarter of North Macedonia's population and their parties play a key role in the country's political life. However, no Albanian ever served as the country's PM. The deal announced on Tuesday marks a compromise after DUI requested an Albanian to lead the government from the beginning of the term.

Zaev had gained international praise for solving the dispute with North Macedonia's neighbour Greece over the country's name last year. With a historic push of Zaev and Greece's Alexis Tsipras, the two countries reached a compromise to rename the former Yugoslav state "North Macedonia." The move allowed North Macedonia to enter NATO earlier this year.

Despite the foreign policy success, Zaev was forced to call for an early election after the EU delayed its membership talks invitation. Social Democrats managed to win the most seats but failed to secure an outright majority in the 120-seat parliament. Zaev has been forced to rely on the support of 46 of his own lawmakers with 15 DUI deputies and a single lawmaker from another, smaller Albanian party.

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