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Leader of Macedonian ruling party VMRO-DPMNE and former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski addresses the media in Skopje, Macedonia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

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SKOPJE (Reuters) - Macedonia's conservative VMRO-DPMNE party said on Monday it had failed to reach agreement on a new coalition government with ethnic Albanians and called for fresh elections.

VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski, prime minister from 2006 to 2016, was handed the mandate on Jan. 9 to form a new government after narrowly winning a December election.

"VMRO-DPMNE informs the public that a coalition agreement with the DUI (Democratic Union of Integration) has not been reached," the party said in a statement overnight. "We think the most mature solution would be new elections."

It was not yet known whether President Gjeorge Ivanov would pass the mandate to Gruevski's rival, Zoran Zaev, as leader of the second-placed Social Democrats or move to call a new election.

(Reporting by Kole Casule; Writing by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Matt Robinson)

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