Macedonia Seeks Name-Change

MacedoniaSunday, June 17, 2018 ,opponents of the deal between Greece and Macedonia on the latter country's new name - North Macedonia - hold Greek flags as they protest at the village of Pisoderi, in northern. Greece has moved to expel two Russian diplomats and to block two others from entering Thursday, July 12 over allegations that clergy and other organizations allegedly received Russian money to protest a deal to end Greece’s longstanding name dispute with Macedonia. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, file)

Seeks Name-Change to North Macedonia

Macedonia’s National Assembly is advancing a national referendum this coming September to address formally changing the constitution to rename the country.


The background to a potential name-change is the long-term Greek request that Macedonia seeks to change its name; as Macedonia is also a region within Greece. The duplicate-name conflict has been an obstacle for Macedonia in trying to apply for membership within the EU and NATO.


The Macedonian National Assembly ratified an agreement to change the country name, but President Ivanov vetoed the measure by refusing to sign. Weeks later, the elected representatives ratified the vetoed measure and advanced the measure further still.

A referendum must be held before a name change can transpire, and Macedonia’s National Assembly has set September 30th as the referendum dateline. The name change has triggered protests in Macedonia, with nationalists calling the change an assault upon Macedonia’s historical identity.


The Nationalist Party VMRO-DPMNE opposes the referendum as drafted, and party representatives boycotted Monday’s National Assembly vote; declaring that the referendum question is ambiguous.

VMRO-DPMNE representative Igor Janusev commented upon the referendum, saying “The referendum question has ambiguous language and is multi-faceted. Above all, the question as drafted is manipulative.”


As thus approved, the name-change referendum question doesn’t indicate what the new proposed country name would be (AKA: The Republic of North Macedonia), but the pending name-change referendum does underscore the government’s desire of forging stronger ties with the West.

If Macedonians accept the proposed national name-change, the referendum would advance to a parliamentary amendment of the Macedonian constitution.

Once rubber-stamped by Macedonia lawmakers, Greece’s lawmakers would then begin the process of accord ratification.

The name dispute between Macedonia and Greece dates from 1991 when Macedonia peacefully broke from Yugoslavia and declared sovereignty as The Republic of Macedonia.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today