To tredjedeles flertal blev netop opnået for at omdøbe Macedonien som et kritisk punkt i at afslutte konflikten med Grækenland.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev North Macedonia name change
© Robert Atanasovski/AFP/Getty Images
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev gives a press conference after the parliament voted to start drafting constitutional amendments to rename the country.
Det macedoniske parlament har stemt for at starte processen med at omdøbe landet til Nordmacedonien, et stort skridt imod at slutte den årtierlange låste konflikte med Grækenland og åbnen en dør til NATO og EU.

Et flertal af 80 folkevalgte i det 120 mand store parlament valgte for at gendøbe det balkanske land, den Nordmacedoniske republik - lige akkurat opnående det nødvendige to tredjedeles flertal som var nødvendigt for at ændre konstitutionen.

Dette skridt kunne frigøre dets bud på at blive medlem af NATO og den Europæiske Union, noget som Grækenland længe har blokeret, idet det har argumenteret at "Macedonien" indikerede territoriale krav på en græsk provins med samme navn.

De to lande opnåede i juni en aftale om navneskiftet. Men hindringer forbliver før navneskiftet kan blive formaliseret.

En folkeafstemning om aftalen for nogle uger siden opnåede ikke det nødvendige fremmøde på 50%, hvilket lod det op til parlamentet i Skopje at afgøre emnet.



The procedure to complete constitutional changes is lengthy and requires several rounds of voting, with Friday's being just the first stage. The procedure should be completed by January at the latest.

"Today is a historic day for the country," Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said. "Macedonia will be part of the European family our dreams and visions for better life in a better country will be fulfilled."

Once Macedonia formally changes the constitution, the Greek parliament will also have to vote on the deal.

Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, who heads a small right-wing party that props up the government in the legislature, has threatened to quit the coalition if the Greek vote goes ahead.

"A great day for democracy in Skopje," Johannes Hahn, the EU's commissioner in charge of enlargement, wrote on his Twitter account.

Russia and the US have traded allegations of interfering in Macedonia's affairs.

Last month Washington accused Moscow of running a disinformation campaign to sour the public on the deal ahead of a referendum on the changes.


Russia, which opposes Macedonia's NATO aspirations, on Thursday fired back.

"There is a continuation of the crudest interference of the US and EU in Skopje's internal affairs, the level of which has already surpassed conceivable boundaries," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.