News Alerts

09 Oct 2018 | 12:38 PM UTC

Macedonia: Protests possible after name change proposal sent to Parliament /update 3

Republic of Macedonia News Alert

Name change proposal sent to Parliament following invalid referendum on October 8; protests possible

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/9/2018, 12:00 AM until 10/15/2018, 11:59 PM (Europe/Skopje). COUNTRY/REGION Macedonia

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Event

A proposal to officially change the name of the country of Macedonia was sent to the Macedonian Parliament for a vote on Monday, October 8. This is despite a referendum on the issue, held September 30, being declared invalid due to low turnout despite the "yes" camp receiving a majority of the vote. However, since the referendum, the government has been conducting negotiations to convince opposition parties to support the amendment. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced he would call early elections should the proposal not be approved by Parliament. Associated protests are possible in the coming days and weeks.

Context

On June 20, the Parliament ratified an agreement with Greece, which would see Macedonia formally change its name to Republic of North Macedonia, from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The change is intended to end a 27-year-long dispute with Greece over the name and clear the way for Macedonia's entry to the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The conflict has stemmed from Greece's claim that the name "Macedonia" connotes aspirations for the territorial annexation of the eponymous northern Greek region, and appropriates the history of ancient Macedonia once ruled by the Greek Alexander the Great. The name change has been controversial in both Greece and Macedonia, spurring demonstrations in both countries.

Advice

Individuals in Macedonia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, and avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public.

 

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