Greek government crisis over Macedonia name change

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 14, 2019

At this point, unless early elections are called, New Democracy's only option has been to request a no-confidence vote in parliament, something that was tried and failed previous year.

Syriza is trailing between eight and 12 points behind the main conservative New Democracy party, which also opposed the deal with Macedonia, in pre-election polls.

Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million people.

Macedonia's parliament ratified the name change deal on Friday, but it will not go into effect until Athens does the same.

Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati tweeted after the vote, saying "the contribution of Albanian political parties once again proved to be a decisive factor".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he will call a confidence vote in his government after his coalition ally quit, leaving him six seats short of a majority.

Kammenos first threatened to pull out of the government after Tsipras signed the name change deal with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in June previous year.

In response to Kammenos' announcement, Tsipras said that he would request a vote of confidence in his government during the coming week. The controversial agreement would also allow Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and EU Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn - frequent visitors and now household names in Macedonia/FYROM - were the first to back the move, nearly in real time, with Washington's minimalist statement emerging a day later.

Zaev said on January 12 that the lawmakers had "made history", adding: "I know how hard that was".

Zaev, who came to power in May 2017, is now looking to his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras to uphold his end of the deal, which the pair brokered a year ago. In a press conference later that same day, Kammenos was highly critical of the non-democratic tactics PM Zaev had used in Skopje for the last several months to get the 81 votes required to pass the constitutional amendments.

In exchange, Greece would lift its objections to the country joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Zaev said he was "convinced that Greek lawmakers will recognise the historical significance of the agreement".

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has a northern province of the same name.

The naming row between the two countries began 27 years ago when FYROM declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but has roots going back to antiquity.

For the Greeks, Macedonia is the name of a history-rich northern province that was the cradle of Alexander the Great's ancient empire. Their efforts brought the pair a nomination for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE