SKOPJE, Macedonia – The European Union's foreign policy chief has urged Macedonia's president to reverse his decision and let the country's left-wing opposition leader try to form a new government.
Federica Mogherini met Macedonian leaders Thursday and called for them to scale down their rhetoric for fear of triggering inter-ethnic conflict.
The crisis emerged after President Gjorge Ivanov refused Wednesday to give the mandate to Zoran Zaev, runner-up in December's parliamentary election.
Ivanov accused Zaev of jeopardizing national sovereignty, because his ethnic Albanian potential coalition partners want Albanian to be declared the country's second official language.
The party that won the most votes, former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's conservatives, failed to strike a coalition deal with ethnic Albanian parties over their language demand.
Ethnic Albanians form a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1-million population.