Russia says FYROM parliament vote to back name change was rigged


Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that a vote in the parliament of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that backed changing the country's name was rigged through a combination of blackmail, threats and vote-buying.

FYROM’s parliament on Friday approved a proposal to change the country's name, bringing a decades-old dispute with Greece one step closer to being resolved, a move that could unblock its bid to join NATO, something Moscow opposes.

"We view what happened as an open violation of all norms, both from a legal and moral point of view. Such dirty manipulations cannot be regarded as an expression of parliamentarians' will," the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

It said that eight votes needed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to enact constitutional changes had been secured "through blackmail, and threatening and bribing opposition deputies." [Reuters]