Here's Why Politicians In Macedonia Just Voted To Change The Country's Name

Demonstrators wave flags in front of the parliament building in Skopje on 23 June 2018 during a protest against the new name of the country the Republic of North Macedonia

Kammenos said any deal including "Macedonia" in the name of the Balkan state to Greece's north was unacceptable as the name was irrevocably tied to Greek civilisation and culture.

"Are you in favor of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union membership, and accepting the name agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece?"

Zaev said that Macedonian lawmakers had "made history" Friday with their decision to back the constitutional changes associated with the name change.

Opponents of the agreement, mostly supporters of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, were holding a peaceful protest late Friday outside parliament in Skopje, the capital.

Delays had marked the October vote that launched the procedure to change the constitution, also with a two-thirds majority.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras called his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev to congratulate him, his office said in a written statement.

Greece's hard-right Independent Greeks party quit the government today over a compromise name-change deal with Macedonia, leaving the prime minister facing a political crisis.

Stoltenberg said in a tweet that the name change deal is "an important contribution to a stable and prosperous region".

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European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc strongly supports the deal and "remains firmly committed to continue to fully support and accompany (Macedonia) towards its common strategic goal of European Union integration".

A Greek prosecutor had on Saturday ordered an investigation into allegations of threats against lawmakers over an upcoming parliamentary vote to end a 27-year dispute with Macedonia, a judicial source said.

Addressing reporters later on Sunday, Tsipras said he accepted the resignation of Kammenos, adding that he will continue to push forward with agreement, which needs 151 votes to be ratified in the Parliament.

Tsipras has said he wants to bring the deal to Greece's parliament in coming weeks.

The countries struck the deal on the new name in June, but Macedonia will start using it only after the parliament in Athens also ratifies the agreement.

The Greeks have accused their northern neighbours of intent to steal the identity and even territory from their own ancient province with that name, which Macedonia has denied.

ANEL is the junior party in Greece's ruling coalition and strongly opposes the name change, a rift that threatens to destabilise the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who helped broker the deal.

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