SKOPJE, Macedonia – Macedonian lawmakers have passed a law making Albanian the country's second official language, in a parliamentary vote boycotted by the main opposition party.
The law passed Thursday with the backing of 69 lawmakers in the 120-member parliament. It still requires approval by the country's president before coming into effect.
Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million people, and the new law allows them to use Albanian in communications with all official institutions throughout the country.
A previous law, which arose from a 2001 peace deal ending an armed conflict between ethnic Albanian rebels and government forces, granted that right only in areas where the minority was larger than 20 percent of the population.