Europe

Macedonia conservatives face tough coalition talks

  • Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, right, shakes hands with conservative leader Nikola Gruevski, at the Presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Gruevski has been formally granted a mandate to form the country’s next coalition government following an early general election last month. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, right, shakes hands with conservative leader Nikola Gruevski, at the Presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Gruevski has been formally granted a mandate to form the country’s next coalition government following an early general election last month. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nikola Gruevski, the leader of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, leaves after Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov officially gave him a mandate to form a new government, during a ceremony at the Presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Gruevski, who won most of the votes in the Dec. 11 election, will have 20 days to establish the new Macedonian government. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    Nikola Gruevski, the leader of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, leaves after Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov officially gave him a mandate to form a new government, during a ceremony at the Presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Gruevski, who won most of the votes in the Dec. 11 election, will have 20 days to establish the new Macedonian government. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, right, arrives with conservative leader Nikola Gruevski, for a ceremony at the Presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Gruevski has been formally granted a mandate to form the country’s next coalition government following an early general election last month. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, right, arrives with conservative leader Nikola Gruevski, for a ceremony at the Presidential office in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Gruevski has been formally granted a mandate to form the country’s next coalition government following an early general election last month. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

Macedonian conservative leader has been formally granted a mandate to form the country's next coalition government following an early general election last month.

The 46-year-old former prime minister's VMRO-DPMNE party won 51 seats in 120-member parliament and on Monday was three weeks to secure the 61 seats needed to form a government. Nikola Gruevski is likely to partner with the ethnic Albanian DUI party, which won 10 seats and is headed by former guerrilla leader Ali Ahmeti.

But the country's three main ethnic Albanian political parties have adopted a joint platform demanding reforms that include constitutional changes to make Albanian an official language.

Ethnic Albanians make up a quarter of Macedonia's population of 2.1 million.