Macedonia parliament agrees to name change

 news.com.au  1/12/2019 11:26:15 AM 

The Macedonian parliament has voted to to change the country's name to Republic of North Macedonia and end a 27-year dispute with neighbouring Greece.

Macedonia's parliament has passed an amendment to the constitution to rename the country Republic of North Macedonia, as agreed with Greece to put an end to a 27-year dispute.

Eighty-one deputies in the 120-seat parliament voted in favour. Representatives of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE, who opposed the agreement with Greece, boycotted the vote.

The countries struck the deal on the new name in June, but Macedonia will start using it only after the parliament in Athens also ratifies the agreement.

Greece blocked its neighbour's aspirations to EU and NATO membership over the use of "Macedonia", which it said implied territorial claims to a Greek province of the same name.

At the start of the parliamentary session on Friday, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told deputies the name change would "open the doors to the future, Macedonia's European future", and to joining the North Atlantic alliance.

Several hundred people have protested against the deal in front of parliament over the past three days.

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