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Macedonia Replaces 2 Government Ministers

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski gestures, while attending a session in the parliament after resignation of two ministers from Prime Minister's cabinet and a senior state security official, on Wednesday, May, May 13, 2015, in Skopje, Macedonia.

Macedonia's parliament has elected two new members to Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's Cabinet, replacing the Minister of Interior and Minister of Transport and Communications who resigned one day earlier.

The opposition did not participate in the voting, as it has been boycotting parliamentary proceedings since the April elections.

Gruevski praised and defended those who resigned as "professionals" who acted to ease political tensions. But the opposition Social Democrat leader, Zoran Zaev said the resignations "are not enough.''

The opposition claims the Gruevski government illegally wiretapped telephone communication of about 20,000 people, including police, judges, religious leaders, journalists and foreign diplomats.

The government has denied the allegations.

The opposition has called a protest for next week to press for the government's resignation and new elections.

Lawmakers elected Mitko Cavkov to be Interior Minister and Vlado Misajlovski was chosen Minister of Transport and Communications, replacing Gordana Jankuloska and Mile Janakieski in the respective posts.

The head of the state security service, Saso Mijalkov, also resigned Tuesday, but has not yet been replaced.

The Cabinet resignations follow a police raid that left 22 people dead, eight policeman and 14 gunmen, last weekend in the town of Kumanovo, north of the capital, Skopje. Thirty-seven policemen were wounded. Macedonian authorities have said the gunmen were trying to cause chaos and fear, and the lives of civilians were at risk.

But Albanian sources in Macedonia have said the Kumanovo crisis was instigated by authorities in an effort to save the Gruevski government.

The United States, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as the governments of Albania and Kosovo have called for calm and allow the facts surrounding Komanovo confrontation to be established.

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