Macedonian lawmakers debate putting new name in constitution

October 15, 2018 - 3:12 am

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's parliament is debating constitutional amendments that are part of an agreement with neighboring Greece to rename the country "North Macedonia," changes that would go a long way to ensuring the country can join NATO.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's left-led coalition is struggling to get two-thirds of parliament's 120 lawmakers to approve the amendment process.

Zaev has staked his political future on pushing through the deal, which would end a 27-year dispute with Greece. He has said he will call early elections if the amendments are rejected.

His government can't change the constitution without support from opposition parties.

The conservative VMRO-DPMNE party says Macedonians failed to endorse the name change in a referendum last month ruled invalid because of a low turnout. Those who did vote overwhelmingly backed the change.