North Macedonia's New President Sparks Diplomatic Tension with Greece

Macdonia feature

Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova took the oath as the first female president of North Macedonia on Sunday, igniting a fresh diplomatic dispute with neighbouring Greece right at her inauguration ceremony.

During the ceremony held at the country's parliament, Siljanovska-Davkova referred to her nation as "Macedonia" instead of its constitutional name "North Macedonia." This move prompted Greek Ambassador Sophia Philippidou to leave the event. In response, the Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement, condemning Siljanovska-Davkova's actions as a violation of bilateral agreements and potentially jeopardising both countries' relations and North Macedonia's EU accession prospects.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen implicitly criticised Siljanovska-Davkova's choice, emphasising the importance of respecting agreements like the Prespa Agreement of 2018, which settled the long-standing name dispute between North Macedonia and Greece.

The decades-old dispute stemmed from Greece's concerns over the use of the name "Macedonia," which it saw as an appropriation of Greek history and identity. The Prespa Agreement, signed in 2018, ended the disagreement, leading to the adoption of the name "North Macedonia" by the country and paving the way for its NATO and EU aspirations.

Siljanovska-Davkova's opposition party, which opposed the Prespa Agreement, emerged victorious in both the presidential and parliamentary elections. In her inaugural address, she vowed to lead the nation towards unity while focusing on the empowerment of women and Europeanisation of the country.

Siljanovska-Davkova's election victory marked a significant milestone in North Macedonia's political landscape, with her centre-right coalition securing a decisive win over the incumbent president. Turnout for the election surpassed the required threshold, validating the results and solidifying Siljanovska-Davkova's mandate.

The inauguration ceremony concluded with a handoff ceremony at the President's official residence, signaling the beginning of Siljanovska-Davkova's tenure as the sixth president of North Macedonia since its independence in 1991.

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