Macedonia MPs Pass Amendments to Change Country's Name
Macedonia's parliament backed all four of the government-proposed amendments on changing the country's constitution on Friday night, allowing the country's name to be changed to the Republic of North Macedonia.
All present 81 MPs from the ruling parties and from several opposition parties backed the amendments, securing the much needed two-thirds majority.
Most of the MPs from the opposition right-wing VMRO DPMNE party, which opposes the name agreement, were absent from the session.
The constitutional changes mark the finalisation of Macedonia's side of the name agreement with Greece, and mean that the country's name will now become the Republic of North Macedonia for international and domestic use.
The nationality of the majority population will remain Macedonian.
The UN provisional reference, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM, will be scrapped.
With the amendments passed, Greece is expected to lift its veto on Macedonia's hopes of starting EU membership negotiations and joining NATO.
In their joint reaction, European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn expressed "wholehearted congratulations" to the parliament on its decision.
"Political leaders and citizens alike have shown their determination to seize this unique and historic opportunity in solving one of the oldest disputes in the region, and decisively move forward on the European Union path," they said in a press statement.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also tweeted his congratulations.
"NATO strongly supports the full implementation of the agreement, which is an important contribution to a stable and prosperous region," he wrote.
During Friday night's vote, several...