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Macedonian parliament begins final debate on name change

The debate is also to open the door for the nation a member of NATO and the start of EU accession talks.

The debate would end with a vote in which a two-third majority among the 120 lawmakers needs to back amendments renaming what is now the Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

Already, there were two votes in the process, the first requiring a two-third majority to launch the procedure in October and the second, with a simple majority requirement, determining the text of the amendments in December.

Report says a successful vote is the final step for Skopje to end a long-running diplomatic dispute with Greece over the name Macedonia.

Social Democratic Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his leftist Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras agreed in June that, Macedonia would add the geographic qualifier to its name.

Athens claims the name Macedonia and its historic legacy for its ancient northern province.

Accusing Skopje of trying to steal the name, the history, and of territorial aspirations, Greece has been blocking its northern neighbour from international organisations since it emerged from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

Both Zaev and Tsipras faced loud opposition to the deal.

In Skopje, protests against the name change, which nationalists on both sides of the border branded as capitulation, have been scheduled for Wednesday.

The vote is due to be held not later than Jan. 15.

After Zaev does his part, Tsipras is to push its ratification through the Greek parliament. (Dpa/NAN)

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