The result of the referendum in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the name deal achieved with Greece could spell the end of Alexis Tsipras’s premiership if SYRIZA’s junior coalition partner, the Independent Greeks (ANEL), remove their support for the government, German newspaper newspaper Handelsblatt said in a report on Wednesday.
The paper says the West expects the end of the name dispute over FYROM to stabilize the region but one person could stumble over the deal – the head of Greece’s government.
On Sunday, voters in FYROM will decide on whether to change their country’s name to North Macedonia, as envisaged in the agreement signed between Athens and Skopje last June.
But although Tsipras has received much praise from his EU and NATO partners for having solved the “Macedonia” question after almost three decades, problems abound at home.
According to a Greek survey, 68 percent of respondents reject the agreement, with many Greeks completely rejecting the use of the word Macedonia in FYROM's name.
Apart from conservative opposition party New Democracy, the question also divides the government alliance. Tsipras' coalition partner, the right-wing Panos Kammenos, has pledged not only to vote down the deal when it reaches the Greek Parliament, but also to exit the coalition.
This could mean that the “Macedonia” question will force Tsipras to call snap elections which, based on the current polls, he may lose, the paper concludes.