Macedonian opposition head calls for end to deadlock

Macedonian opposition leader has called for an end to a political deadlock that has left parliament unable to elect a speaker for three weeks.

Zoran Zaev suggested a new speaker could be elected outside normal procedures, an idea immediately rejected by the conservative party as an attempted coup.

Macedonia has been without a government since December, when former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's conservative party won elections, but without enough votes to form a government. Coalition talks broke down over ethnic Albanian demands that Albanian be recognized as an official second language. A quarter of Macedonia's population is ethnic Albanian.

Zaev secured the cooperation of another ethnic Albanian party, giving him 69 of parliament's 120 seats. But President Gjorge Ivanov refused to hand him the mandate to form a government.