Macedonia Bolsters Security For Deputies Who Back Name Change

Macedonian Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski says additional police
protection is being provided for parliamentary deputies who voted to
support a deal that will change the country's name.

Spasovski said on October 22 that all 80 lawmakers who voted to launch
the constitutional-amendment process needed for the name change are
getting extra security because several deputies and their families have
received death threats.

Parliament voted 80-39 late on October
19 in favor of the government's proposal for the amendment to rename the
country as North Macedonia.

The government received cross-party support despite fierce objection from opposition nationalists.

The name change would end a long dispute with neighboring Greece, which
in return would stop blocking Macedonia from joining NATO and the
European Union.

The deal also could reduce Russian influence in the Balkans.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer visited Skopje on October 22 and praised the parliament’s decision.

Palmer said the agreement "is essential for Macedonia's path towards the European Union and NATO."

The amendment process is expected to take months. After it is
completed, the last step in enacting the name change deal would be taken
in Athens, where Greece's parliament is to vote on whether to ratify
the agreement.

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