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Macedonian prime minister hits back at opposition leader after the latter releases tapes

  • Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling center-right VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski, bottom left, is greeted by supporters on his arrival at the party’s gathering in capital Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, March 15, 2015. Prime Minister Gruevski said before thousands of supporters at the party’s gathering on Sunday that he would not resign, adding that oppositional leader Zoran Zaev is working for “foreign service interests”, by publishing illegally wire-taped recordings. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling center-right VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski, bottom left, is greeted by supporters on his arrival at the party’s gathering in capital Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, March 15, 2015. Prime Minister Gruevski said before thousands of supporters at the party’s gathering on Sunday that he would not resign, adding that oppositional leader Zoran Zaev is working for “foreign service interests”, by publishing illegally wire-taped recordings. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling center-right VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski raises his fist while speaking to  supporters at the party’s gathering in capital Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, March 15, 2015. Prime Minister Gruevski said before thousands of supporters at the party’s gathering on Sunday that he would not resign, adding that oppositional leader Zoran Zaev is working for “foreign service interests”, by publishing illegally wire-taped recordings. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling center-right VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski raises his fist while speaking to supporters at the party’s gathering in capital Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, March 15, 2015. Prime Minister Gruevski said before thousands of supporters at the party’s gathering on Sunday that he would not resign, adding that oppositional leader Zoran Zaev is working for “foreign service interests”, by publishing illegally wire-taped recordings. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling center-right VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski speaks to supporters at the party’s gathering in capital Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, March 15, 2015. Prime Minister Gruevski has denounced on Sunday the oppositional accusations about government official’s wrongdoings with wire-tapping scandal, accusing the left-wing head of the main oppositional Social-democrats Zoran Zaev of being involved into activities for “destabilization of the country”. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    Macedonian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling center-right VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski speaks to supporters at the party’s gathering in capital Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, March 15, 2015. Prime Minister Gruevski has denounced on Sunday the oppositional accusations about government official’s wrongdoings with wire-tapping scandal, accusing the left-wing head of the main oppositional Social-democrats Zoran Zaev of being involved into activities for “destabilization of the country”. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

Macedonia's conservative prime minister has denounced the opposition leader for attempting to "destabilize the country" and working for "foreign service interests" after the latter released taped conversations of what he says is new evidence of the premier's involvement in a real-estate lucrative business.

Hours after Zoran Zaev, leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Union, released the conversations, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski held a rally attended by thousands of supporters of the ruling center-right VMRO-DPMNE party Sunday to deny wrongdoing and proclaim he won't resign.

Zaev called for the government to step down, claiming corruption at the highest levels, including mismanagement of funds, control of the judiciary and media, spurious criminal prosecutions of opponents and illegal wiretapping of more than 20,000 people, including public officials, religious leaders and foreign ambassadors.