Macedonian Parties end political deadlock

Macedonian political parties on Friday reached a deal ending months of political deadlock and an opposition boycott of Parliament that had threatened the country’s efforts to join the European Union and NATO.

In a deal brokered by EU officials, conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and the head of the opposition Social Democrats, Branko Crvenkovski, agreed to hold local elections on March 24 and for the opposition to return to Parliament immediately.

The Social Democrats had been boycotting Parliament and the local government elections to press demands for an early general election. The spat with the conservative government broke out Dec. 24 during a budget debate.

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