Lawmakers in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are entering the last phase of debate on constitutional changes to rename the country “Republic of North Macedonia” as part of a deal with neighboring Greece to pave the way for NATO membership.
Lawmakers of the center-right opposition are to boycott the plenary session starting Wednesday afternoon, and nationalists held a protest outside parliament, calling the name change “national treason.”
At least 80 lawmakers, or two-thirds majority of the 120-seat parliament, are needed for the constitutional changes to pass.
The name deal with Greece was signed in June as a means of ending a decades-long dispute and unblocking the country’s path towards NATO and the European Union.
Greece argues the Balkan country’s name implies territorial claims on its own northern province of the same name, and on its ancient Greek heritage. [AP]