EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn was to return to Skopje on Tuesday to press Macedonia's President Gorge Ivanov into recognizing the result of snap elections after Ivanov blocked the opposition leader from becoming prime minister.

Hahn previously helped broker a 2015 agreement between then-prime minister Nikola Gruevski and Social Democratic (SDSM) opposition leader Zoran Zaev that outlined a reform road map, ending with an election, in a bid to resolve a political crisis.

The visit is an effort to keep the agreement alive after President Gorge Ivanov refused to appoint Zaev prime minister despite Zaev having secured a majority in parliament.

Elections in December 2016 - called two years early - produced a slim win for nationalist Gruevski’s VMRO, but he was unable to renew a coalition with ethnic Albanian partners.

Zaev’s Social Democrats then stepped in and won a majority by promising to elevate Albanian to the status of Macedonia's second official language.

But Ivanov, Gruevski’s ally, refused to appoint Zaev, accusing him of a plan to undermine Macedonian sovereignty by promising to put Albanian on equal footing with Macedonian as the country's official language.

The European Union and United States urged Ivanov to change his decision but he did not budge. VMRO launched daily protests backing the president.

The rebuttal has angered the Albanians, who make up more than 25 per cent of Macedonia's 2.1 million inhabitants and who launched an armed insurgency in 2001 to back a demand for more rights. 

Intervention from the West helped end the conflict by brokering reforms to improve the status of Albanians.

The deal, however, left both sides embittered and discontented.

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