“Former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski, head of the opposition rightist VMRO-DPMNE party, resigned on Monday following an election defeat last year and unrest that rocked the small Balkan country in April.

Gruevski, 47, led the ex-Yugoslav republic for almost a decade, and his party bloc since 2003, until January 2016 when a wiretapping scandal brought down the ruling VMRO-DPMNE bloc.

A snap election in December 2016 ended inconclusively and a long parliamentary stalemate ensued, ending in May when Social Democrat Zoran Zaev formed a coalition with ethnic Albanian parties that represent a third of the 2 million population.

VMRO-DPMNE said its Central Committee had scheduled a leadership congress for Dec. 22-23 after Gruevski’s ‘irrevocable resignation.’

‘Gruevski said that … his resignation was a moral act, as it is natural that the person in whom everyone had confidence should take the responsibility for the (electoral) defeat,’ a party statement said.” (Reuters)