The government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) submitted draft constitutional amendments to Parliament on Friday that would formally rename the country “North Macedonia” under the name deal signed with Greece, but Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has reportedly expressed reservations about an article that hints at a Macedonian people.
Pavlopoulos reportedly objected to Article 36 which retains references to a Macedonian “people and identity” and the need to protect the Macedonian “people” living outside the country.
Pavlopoulos has insisted that FYROM must make a written commitment that the name deal signed in June does not recognize a Macedonian nation but rather a citizenship.
FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev presented the proposal at a press conference after a meeting of his cabinet and said there is nothing disputable in the four proposed amendments which, he said, are in compliance with international standards.
The first amendment proposes the replacement of the phrase “Republic of Macedonia” with “the Republic of North Macedonia” in the country’s constitution.
The second amendment proposes the addition of the Ohrid Framework Agreement of 2001 as the country’s constitutive element.
Moreover, in agreement with the Greek side, the constitution’s preamble will also include changes to the references made to the 1944 Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) so that any wording deemed irredentist is removed.
The proposed third amendment includes a reference that FYROM respects the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring countries.
The next plenary session of FYROM’s Parliament to ratify the constitutional changes will take place on December 1.
A month later the third and final vote to ratify the constitutional review will take place, meaning the name deal will be ratified by FYROM by mid-January at the latest.