News Alerts

22 Oct 2018 | 12:58 PM UTC

Macedonia: Parliament approves name-change proposal October 19 /update 5

Republic of Macedonia News Alert

Macedonian Parliament approves name-change proposal on October 19; associated protests possible

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/22/2018, 12:00 AM until 10/29/2018, 11:59 PM (Europe/Skopje). COUNTRY/REGION Macedonia

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Event

The Macedonian Parliament voted in favor of the country's name-change proposal on Friday, October 19, amid tensions between the government and the VMRO DPMNE, the main opposition party. The government now has two weeks to submit draft constitutional amendments to the parliament for approval. The VMRO DPMNE has reiterated that it does not support the proposal, expelling opposition members of parliament who voted in favor. Associated protests are possible in the coming days and weeks.

Context

A proposal to officially change the name of the country of Macedonia was sent to the parliament for a vote on October 8. This happened despite a referendum held on the issue on September 30 that was declared invalid due to low turnout, but in which the "yes" camp received a majority of the vote.

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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