RFE/RL: Macedonian Parliament votes to change country's name

Macedonia Lawmakers Set Again To Debate Name Change Amid Uncertainty

Greece-FYR Macedonia dispute: MPs back historic name change to Republic of North Macedonia

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, seen on the right, is now looking to his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras to uphold his end of the name change agreement.

The change is the result of a dispute between Macedonia and Greece over history and national identity that has lasted 27 years.

But a change of government in Macedonia in 2017 finally led to the deal reached past year.

"I thanked the prime minister for the cooperation and I explained to him that for this national issue we can not continue", he said, adding that his Independent Greeks party "is pulling out of the government".

Greece has a province called Macedonia and long demanded Skopje change its country name to remove what Athens considered to be an implied claim to Greek sovereign territory.

Neighbouring Albania's foreign minister also congratulated Macedonia on the vote, which he called "a clear demonstration of statesmanship" that would unlock a path to the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Macedonia's government was holding emergency talks for a second day on January 11 to try to secure a two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment that would rename the country the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

The future of the ruling coalition government remains unclear.

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When authorities arrived at the scene, the baby boy was fast asleep in Ivic's arms and the passenger's coat. She runs up to him, he stretches out his arms and she takes him into hers and darts back to the bus.

If the government loses, the next general election, due to be held in the autumn, could be brought forward.

However, it appears that some of Mr Kammenos's lawmakers are ready to desert him, while some lawmakers from small centre-left parties are ready to back the deal.

A government spokeswoman said that later in the week the timeline for ratification will be clearer, but the vote could possibly take place this month. "But I am convinced that the Greek parliament will also find the strength to make the decision", he said.

Opponents of the agreement, mostly supporters of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, were holding a peaceful protest late Friday outside parliament in Skopje, the capital.

Greece's objections forced the United Nations to refer to Macedonia as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

The New Democracy member allegedly revealed the personal mobile phone numbers of ANEL MPs.

The preliminary investigation was ordered two Greek news websites reported that lawmakers had received threatening text messages demanding they vote against the deal.

Kammenos said any deal including "Macedonia" in the name of the Balkan state to Greece's north was unacceptable as the name was irrevocably tied to Greek civilisation and culture.

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