Macedonia parliament agrees to change country's name

Macedonia parliament agrees to change country's name

12 January 2019 06:40 am
Macedonia's parliament has approved a constitutional amendment to change the country's name to the Republic of North Macedonia.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev narrowly secured the two-thirds majority needed in the historic vote amid a boycott by opposition nationalists.
 
Protesters outside parliament denounced what they called an act of treason.
 
The name change is aimed at ending a 27-year dispute with Greece, which has its own region called Macedonia.
 
The Greek parliament must now give its approval under a deal signed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Mr Zaev in June.
 
That will lift Athens' veto on Macedonia's bids to join Nato and the European Union.
 
"A new historical chapter in our statehood has been written this evening," the Macedonian government said in a statement.
 
"It makes absolutely plausible two of our biggest state interests - membership in Nato and EU."
 
Eighty-one deputies voted in favour of the change in the 120-seat chamber.
 
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hailed the vote, saying the alliance "strongly supports the full implementation of the agreement, which is an important contribution to a stable and prosperous region."
 
Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner in charge of enlargement, said: "(I) hope that this historic decision creates a positive dynamic for reconciliation in the whole Western Balkan region."
 
Mr Tsipras called Mr Zaev to congratulate him on the "successful conclusion of the process to revise the constitution of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," his office said.
 
More than 90% of Macedonian voters backed the name change in a non-binding referendum in September but the vote was rendered invalid due to low turnout.
 
BBC