Macedonian parliament votes to approve name change

Lester Mason
October 20, 2018

The final vote, however, saw Zaev just achieve the necessary two-thirds majority needed inside the 120-seat house.

Both countries agreed to a name change in June.

The Macedonian population largely boycotted the referendum, despite the best efforts of its US-backed government, which tried to entice voters by phrasing the question as innocuously as possible: "Are you in favor of membership in the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by accepting the deal between the Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Greece?"

A woman votes in a referendum on the country's name change at a polling station.

On September 30, the country held a referendum, where the residents had to decide whether they support the agreement with Greece.

But hurdles remain before the change can be formalised.

"The parliament adopted the proposal by the government to start the procedure for changes in the constitution", parliament speaker Talat Xhaferi said after the late-night vote.

"Today is a historic day for the country", Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said.

"Macedonia will be part of the European family our dreams and visions for better life in a better country will be fulfilled".

Not all in Greece are satisfied with the compromise by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who barely survived a no-confidence vote over his handling of the matter.

The process for Macedonia's parliament to fully change the country's name is lengthy and will require several more rounds of voting.

"A great day for democracy in Skopje", Johannes Hahn, the EU's commissioner in charge of enlargement, wrote on his Twitter account.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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