Macedonia names caretaker PM ahead of early poll

Lawmakers in Macedonia have approved conservative politician Emil Dimitriev as caretaker prime minister following a Western-brokered deal to resolve a political crisis triggered by a wiretapping scandal.

Late Monday, parliament approved Dimitriev, a senior member of the governing VMRO-DPMNE party, ahead of early elections on April 24. It also voted to dissolve the assembly on Feb. 24 — midway through its four-year term.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski stepped down last week as part of the agreement brokered with the assistance of the European Union and U.S.

The crisis stemmed from allegations the government illegally wire-tapped 20,000 people, including police, judges, and foreign diplomats.

The opposition Social Democrats say the April election date is too early to allow an investigation of potential election-register anomalies and implement agreed upon reforms in the news media.