Deputies agree historic name change for Macedonia

Macedonia Lawmakers Set Again To Debate Name Change Amid Uncertainty

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

A United Nations envoy has praised Macedonia after its parliament approved a deal with Greece that would rename the country North Macedonia.

The Macedonian parliament has amended the constitution to rename the country as the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

In June 2018, Greece and Macedonia inked Prespa Agreement, which requires Macedonia to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia and Greece to drop its objection to Macedonia joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and becoming a member of the European Union. In September, the move was supported by over 91 percent of Macedonians at a referendum.

A spokesperson for the governing Social Democrats said the ethnic Albanian lawmakers also agreed to back the deal.

Macedonia's center-left government said Friday it has secured the required number of parliamentary votes to finalize constitutional changes that will rename the country North Macedonia and pave the way to NATO membership.

The main opposition conservative New Democracy party also rejects the agreement, but Tsipras can rely on lawmakers from the small pro-EU To Potami party to get it approved.

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Macedonian lawmakers were convening later Friday to vote on the amendments, for which a super majority of two-thirds of the 120 members - or 80 votes - is required.

Separately, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras previously stated that they were planning to take this agreement to the Greek Parliament in January.

"The prime minister congratulated Mr Zaev on the successful conclusion of the process to revise the constitution of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia", Tsipras' office said in a statement, after the vote.

Several hundred people have protested against the deal in front of parliament over the past three days. "VMRO-DPMNE will win this election and the will of the majority of the citizens will be implemented", Mickoski said in a statement. "The vote on constitutional amendments that changed the name, identity, history and culture was done against the constitution".

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras has said he wants to bring the deal - which has brought his coalition government to the brink of breakup - to parliament in coming weeks.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg congratulated Zaev on Twitter and reiterated the Alliance's support for the deal with Athens.

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