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19 oct. 2018 | 10h30 UTC

Macedonia: Parliament to vote on name-change proposal October 19 /update 4

Republic of Macedonia Alerte de sécurité

Macedonian Parliament to hold a vote on the country’s name-change agreement on October 19; associated protests possible

TIMEFRAME expected from 19/10/2018, 12h00 until 22/10/2018, 11h59 (Europe/Skopje). COUNTRY/REGION Macedonia

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Event

The Macedonian Parliament is expected to vote on proposed constitutional amendments necessary to implement the country's name-change agreement on Friday, October 19. Macedonia's main opposition party VMRO DPME has reiterated it would not support the deal, while Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has said he would call for early elections should the amendments not be approved. Associated protests are possible in the coming days and weeks over the parliament's decision, notably if the amendments are approved.

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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