Macedonia's parliamentary committee on constitutional issues has begun debating constitutional amendments required as part of a deal with neighboring Greece to change the country's name to North Macedonia in exchange for NATO membership.
Changes being discussed yesterday include modifying the preamble and two articles. The move comes after a Sept. 30 referendum on the deal with Greece. Voters overwhelmingly supported the deal, but the referendum was ruled invalid because of low turnout. The debate will last several days at committee level before being put to lawmakers in a plenary session, likely next week.
The governing coalition lacks the two-thirds majority it needs to get the proposals approved, and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has said he will call early elections if the amendments are rejected.
The name change referendum failed to pass turnout thresholds, leaving it to parliament to settle the issue. Macedonia's bids for EU and NATO membership had long been blocked by Greece, but in June the two countries struck a deal on changing the name of the ex-Yugoslav republic to the Republic of North Macedonia to end the 27-year dispute.