News ID: 216784
Published: 0502 GMT June 17, 2018

Greek PM survives no-confidence vote over Macedonia deal

Greek PM survives no-confidence vote over Macedonia deal
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks during a parliamentary session prior to a no-confidence vote at the the parliament in Athens, Greece, on June 16, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has survived a no-confidence vote pushed by the opposition over a deal between his government and Macedonia.

The motion, tabled by the country’s main opposition party, New Democracy, was rejected by a margin of 153-127 on Saturday, presstv.com wrote.

Calling the deal “harmful” to Greek interests, the opposition party has accused the government of making too many concessions in the accord.

“Today, you are all mortgaging the future of the country,” opposition party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the parliament ahead of the vote.

Then, addressing Tsipras, he said, “You will be the prime minister to say ‘yes’ to everything your predecessors said ‘no’ to.”

In response, the Greek prime minister praised the agreement at the chamber and said, “This is a deal I believe that every Greek prime minister would want.”

“It not only includes a compound name with a geographic qualifier, used erga omnes, but also sets as a condition a change of the constitutional name by which the country (Macedonia) has been recognized by 140 countries. It includes a constitutional change to eradicate every irredentist term in their constitution,” Tsipras added.

He accused the opposition leader of political opportunism and “of being hostage to the far-right wing of his party.”

Earlier, police had had to fire teargas and stun grenades at the thousands of people who had gathered outside the parliament building in the capital, Athens, to protest the deal with Macedonia and demand that Tsipras resign.

Clashes erupted between protesters and police outside parliament in Athens on Saturday, as a demonstration escalated against a proposal that would see FYROM renamed as 'Northern Macedonia.'

The name dispute between Greece and Macedonia has been running for some 27 years, since the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Athens argues that the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim to a Greek region of the same name.

Under the terms of the deal, which is tentatively scheduled to be signed on Sunday, Macedonia would be known as the “Republic of North Macedonia,” and Greece would stop its objections to the renamed nation joining the European Union (EU) and the NATO military alliance.

But the deal still faces many difficulties before it can be assumed safe. It will have to be ratified at the parliaments of both Greece and Macedonia, and it will have to survive a referendum in the latter country, too.

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov has already declared that he will not approve the accord.

   
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