BELGRADE – Macedonia’s (FYROM) president on Monday resumed the search for a new prime minister after the former premier failed to form a government, despite his party’s narrow election victory, reports.

The December vote was held as part of a European Union-brokered deal between Macedonia’s four main political parties aimed at ending a long-running political crisis.

President Gjorge Ivanov was informed by parliament that the VMRO-DPMNE party led by Nikola Gruevski, the former premier and a veteran conservative leader, had failed to form a government within the 20-day deadline, his office said.

A source in the office told AFP that Ivanov would restart consultations.

In the vote, VMRO-DPMNE secured 51 seats in the 120-seat parliament, or two more than the Social Democrats (SDSM), the main opposition party.

The neck-and-neck results meant that ethnic Albanian parties, with 20 seats between them, emerged as kingmakers, but Gruevski was unable to negotiate a deal.

The three main ethnic parties are demanding that Albanian be made an official language.

Ivanov may now ask the Social Democrats to try to form a government, or he could seek to form a broader coalition, according to analysts.