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Macedonia designates Albanian as 2nd official language

Albanian has been designated the second official language in Macedonia. The legislation strengthens the position of Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians, about a quarter of the 2.1-million-strong population. The move also ends a months-long standoff between the left-led government and Macedonia’s conservative President Gjorge Ivanov, AP reports. The president had refused to sign off on the law saying it was unconstitutional and unnecessary. The law was published in the government gazette Tuesday after being signed by parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi. The speaker bypassed the president, who had been legally obliged to sign off on the law after parliament approved it twice in separate sessions. Albanian will now be used by state institutions in areas where ethnic Albanians comprise over 20 percent of the population.