Greek Lawmakers to Vote on Macedonia Name Change

Greek lawmakers are expected to vote Thursday on a deal to change the name of neighbouring Macedonia and end one of the world's longest diplomatic disputes, reported AFP.

The debate began Wednesday and is to conclude late Thursday night with a vote on the Prespa Agreement with Skopje signed in June last year to rename the former Yugoslav republic as the Republic of North Macedonia.

Macedonia's parliament backed a constitutional revision to change the country's name 10 days ago. But for the deal to go through, the change must also be approved by Greek MPs.

Greek opponents of the deal plan to protest outside parliament Thursday night to defend the "Greekness" of Macedonia.

On Sunday, clashes between police and masked protesters left several injured in Athens as tens of thousands demonstrated against the name change.

According to the government, "the incidents were provoked by extremists, members of the Golden Dawn, who attempted to enter parliament".

A wide range of Greek political parties, from the far-right Golden Dawn to the Socialists, oppose the accord to rename Macedonia.

But it could nonetheless be approved by the required 151 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament.

The accord aims to start unravelling one of the world's longest diplomatic disputes which began nearly three decades ago with Macedonia's declaration of independence but has roots dating back centuries.

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has a northern province of the same name. In ancient times it was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a source of intense pride for modern-day Greeks.

Last June, Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and...

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