Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev examines Parliament's deputies during a vote to go over constitutional changes to allow the Balkans to rename the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Skopje, Macedonia on January 1
SKOPJE (Reuters) ) – On Friday, the Parliament of Macedonia submitted an amendment to the Constitution to rename the Republic of Northern Macedonia, as agreed with Greece to end a 27-year dispute.
Eighty deputies in parliament with 120 seats voted in favor. Representatives of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE who opposed the agreement with Greece, the Bojkot vote.
The countries agreed the new name agreement in June, but Macedonia will start using it only after the Athens Parliament ratifies the agreement.
Greece blocked its neighbor's ambitions for membership of the EU and NATO on the use of "Macedonia", as it implicated implicit territorial claims to a Greek province of the same name.
At the beginning of the parliamentary term, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told the deputies that the change of name would "open the doors of the future, Macedonia's European future" and to join the North Atlantic Alliance.
Several hundred people have protested against the agreement in front of Parliament over the last three days.
Reporting of Kole Casule; writing by Ivana Sekularac; editing by John Stonestreet