Greek lawmakers mull no-confidence vote over Macedonia name

Greek lawmakers mull no-confidence vote over Macedonia name

But in a reflection of the depth of feeling over the issue, both Zaev and Tsipras were accused in their home countries of "national capitulation".

President Gjorge Ivanov said the agreement, which would rename Macedonia as the Republic of North Macedonia, gave too many concessions to Greece.

Senior Rumchev, President of the Council, said that citizens gathered spontaneously and they are outraged by the agreement with Greece and that "this protest is only a warning because no one has the right to change the constitutional name of the state and law to solve national problems citizens only".

"However I am conscious that this issue remains a delicate one and requires national parliamentary and possible referendum endorsement still, but the worldwide community and European Union must get fully behind the deal and the European Union must give the Green light to opening accession negotiations for Macedonia to join the European Union as North Macedonia which is its new agreed name".

Greece has long objected to its northern neighbour being called Macedonia because it has its own northern province of the same name, which in ancient times was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire - a source of intense pride to modern-day Greeks.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has also hailed the move, which was announced on Tuesday, calling it a "historic solution".

Zaev said the deal would be signed this weekend, and a voter referendum would be held in the fall.

Zaev and his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, have also faced political dissent.

Prime Minister Tsipras defended in the agreement in a television interview last night, arguing that even if a censure motion is filed against the government, the Independent Greeks party will not bring down the government.

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This would leave the left-wing prime minister dependent on support from political opponents to ratify the deal in parliament.

"North Macedonia is acceptable for me", said Svetlana Jancevska, a 55-year-old music teacher in Skopje, adding that it does "not damage my identity as Macedonian". This effectively changed Bulgaria's position, which had theretofore ruled out a name that included a geographical limitation.

"The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" joined the United Nations in 1993, but most countries have ignored that provisional name and refer to it simply as Macedonia.

"We are Macedonians and we are not interested in changing our name", said Marica, a housewife from the town of Ohrid.

In Greece, opponents were equally angry.

The document states that Macedonia's constitution must be revised within the year for the deal to go ahead.

However, Macedonian leading opposition party, the rightist VMRO-DPMNE, called those who reject it to protest on Sunday.

"We believe that the launch of European Union accession negotiations this year and a clear signal from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation about its readiness to welcome Skopje among its member states will contribute to greater security and stability of the entire Western Balkans region", the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement.

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