Macedonia’s Parliament Approves Change in Country’s Name

Macedonian nationalists say changing the country's name is against the'will of the people

Macedonian nationalists say changing the country's name is against the'will of the people

Macedonia's parliament will need to vote again once the new name is added into the country's constitution. "This determination was confirmed with the vote today", the statement said.

After the session was delayed for more than 10 hours, Parliament voted in favor of the proposal a key step in accepting the deal struck with neighbor Greece in June.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras agreed if Macedonia was renamed North Macedonia, Greece would stop blocking Macedonia's bid to join the European Union and NATO.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg said: "It's up to the government and political leaders to complete national procedures on the name agreement & seize this historic opportunity to bring the country into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation". Modern Greece accuses Macedonia of cultural appropriation and territorial aggression through its use of the name, which has been a sore point since the country became independent in 1991.

It is not clear how the government brought the VMRO MPs on board.

"I can confirm that with 80 "yes" votes the parliament adopted the proposal by the government to start the procedure to change the constitution", said Talat Xhaferi, speaker of the 120-member assembly.

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The UK's National Cyber Security Center and the US's Homeland Security have similarly expressed doubts. Both Apple and Amazon previously denied Bloomberg's story, which is still available to read online .

Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had vowed to push ahead with the change after a referendum last month was rendered invalid owing to low turnout.

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

Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, who heads a small right-wing party that props up the government in the legislature, has threatened to quit the coalition if the Greek vote goes ahead.

Both claim the heritage of Alexander the Great.

Since Yugoslavia's dissolution in the early 1990s, Macedonia is having arguments with Greece concerning its name.

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

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