Skopje’s opposition party says name deal with Athens is “dead”



Skopje’s main opposition party says the name deal with Athens to rename the country “North Macedonia” is “dead” after last Sunday’s failed referendum.

VMRO-DPMNE also called for a caretaker government before an early election expected in late November, stating it would ensure a “fair and democratic” vote.

FYROM’s opposition party refuses to support the deal and calls it a betrayal of the nation’s national interests and identity.

It opposed last Sunday’s referendum on the deal, which only had a 37 percent turnout, well below the 50 percent required for the poll to be valid.

VMRO-DPMNE and other opponents of the agreement said the referendum’s failure should kill the deal, but the government and senior EU, US and Nato officials insist FYROM’s parliament should hold a final vote on the matter.

Prime Minister Zaev’s coalition has 71 of the 80 votes it would need for approval of the deal, and he hopes to sweep at least nine VMRO-DPMNE deputies to his side and says he is ready to call an early election if the motion fails by next Wednesday.

EU commissioner Johannes Hahn told FYROM to make a deal on Friday, telling Austria’s Kurier newspaper that “new elections would only delay the EU accession process” for them, which otherwise could begin in 2019.