Macedonia conservatives struggle to form cabinet at deadline

Macedonian conservative leader Nikola Gruevski is uncertain of getting an ethnic Albanian party to join his coalition just hours before his mandate to form a government expires.

Democratic Union for Integration leader Ali Ahmeti has set two conditions for his party's participation. One is for Albanian to be made a second official language throughout Macedonia. The other is for Gruevski to allow the investigation into the wiretapping scandal that shook the country to continue.

Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE party has rejected both conditions.

The conservatives gained 51 seats in the December election, and need the DUI's 10 seats to secure a majority in the 120-member Parliament.

Gruevski has until midnight Sunday (2300 GMT) to form a cabinet. If he fails, the Social Democrats, with 49 seats, will get the mandate from President Gjorge Ivanov.