Greek lawmakers reject no-confidence vote

Greek lawmakers reject no-confidence vote

On Sunday, police fired teargas to displace protesters demonstrating against the deal who tried to break through a police cordon to reach the area where the deal was being signed, Ekathimerini reported.

Greece and Macedonia have signed an agreement that aims to settle a decades-long dispute over Macedonia's name.

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbor being called Macedonia because it has its own northern province of the same name, which in ancient times was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire - a source of intense pride for modern-day Greeks.

Foreign ministers of Greece, Nikos Kotzias (centre) and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov (left) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"This is a deal I believe that every Greek prime minister would want", Mr Tsipras told the chamber earlier.

The president of Macedonia has said he will not endorse the pact, while in Greece, Tsipras's right-wing coalition partners have said their lawmakers will reject it when it is brought for ratification.

"This is the most forward-looking deal the country has ever had in its hands", said Interior Minister Panos Skourletis.

But from the moment the details emerged, a political storm erupted in both countries.

In Skopje, President Gjorge Ivanov, who has veto power over legislation, said he won't sign off on it and the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party that backs him called protests against the deal for Sunday.

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Skopje hopes to secure a date to begin European Union accession talks at a bloc's summit in late June and an invitation to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in mid-July.

Articles in the Constitution which relate to the need of the country to take care of Macedonian minorities in neighbouring countries should also be removed.

The no-confidence motion was presented by the conservative New Democracy party with the argument that the government could not sign the agreement with Skopje without Parliament's approval.

The head of Macedonian diplomacy now expects action.

Thousands of protesters waving Greek flags gathered at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of parliament during Saturday's debate, chanting anti-government slogans.

"We are fighting for the land of our fathers". He promised that his party would vote against the agreement itself when it is brought to parliament.

Following the ratification of the deal in the Macedonian parliament, Greece should send a letter to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to give the green light for its northern neighbour to be invited to become the 30th Alliance member, as well as to the European Council on the launch of EU accession talks. He is already trailing centre-right New Democracy in opinion polls.

It became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but, as a result of an ongoing dispute with Greece over the use of the name "Macedonia", was admitted under the provisional description the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia.

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