Now, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov has declined to invite opposition Social Democratic Union (SDSM) leader Zoran Zaev to form a new government, even though Zaev managed to form a coalition with three ethnic-Albanian parties that would control 67 seats in the 120-seat parliament.
"Suddenly they jump to the defense of some national interest and start talking about federalization or other matters that are completely unrelated to the current political situation," said Pero Dimshovski, a former state secretary with the Secretariat of European Affairs.
"If the party would lose power," Bieber told RFE/RL, "it would lose many instruments to prevent any kind of serious investigation into the abuses of the past."
However, since Ivanov stirred up the issue, thousands of VMRO-DPMNE supporters have taken to the streets to protest the so-called Albanian agenda. On March 7, in the latest incident, unknown vandals damaged a museum of the Albanian language in Macedonia's second-largest city, Bitola.
On March 2, during a visit to Skopje to discuss the crisis, EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini warned of the potential to spark a conflict.
The same day, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement accusing the EU and the United States of trying to overthrow the government by supporting the "ultimatum-like demands" of the Albanians and calling for an end to "outside interference in Macedonia's internal affairs."
Media in neighboring Serbia have been actively playing up the supposed Albanian threat and encouraging the VMRO-DPMNE protesters.
The way out of the crisis remains unclear. VMRO-DPMNE figures have called for another round of elections, but it is doubtful the opposition would agree to participate.
On the other hand, Ivanov and VMRO-DPMNE could back down, as they did on the pardons issue. This could come as part of a brokered deal under which the SDSM promised no "vendetta" against VMRO-DPMNE and the Albanian parties agreed to publicize and possibly moderate their platform, analyst Bechev said.