Most Greeks against Macedonia Name Dispute Deal, Fresh Clashes ahead of Vote

Most Greeks against Macedonia Name Dispute Deal, Fresh Clashes ahead of Vote

New clashes between protesters and riot police erupted before the Greek Parliament in Athens on Thursday as the vote on the ratification of the Greece – Macedonia name dispute deal was put off by a day.

In the meantime, a public opinion poll found that more than 60% of the Greeks feel negatively about the Macedonian name dispute deal championed by Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

On Sunday, Athens saw large-scale protests and clashes with police, days Tsipras barely survived a confidence vote over the name deal with Greece’s northern neighbor, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

Several thousand people gathered outside the Greek legislature chanting “traitors” as lawmakers debated ratification of the Macedonian name dispute deal, reports eKathimerini. The police used tear gas to disperse the rally.

The Greek MPs put off the vote for the ratification of the so called Prespa Agreement with Macedonia until 2:30 pm EET on Friday.

The reason for the delay of the vote was the fact that a total of 230 out of the 300 Members of Parliament wanted to take the floor before the actual voting.

According to the results from a poll by the Pulse firm, 62% of the Greeks see the Prespa Agreement as negative for Greece, including 47% who deem it “definitely negative”, Naftemporiki reports.

The survey also found that the rightist opposition New Democracy party has a lead of 10.5 percentage points before the ruling leftist SYRIZA, with 33% support for the former and 22.5% for the latter.

The lead is the same as the one registered in December 2018 by a public opinion poll of the same firm.

The ultra-nationalist and far right Golden Dawn party accused by Tsipras of using violence during Sunday’s protest in Athens was found to have the support of 8% of the Greeks.

The Greece – Macedonia name dispute deal was negotiated in June 2018 by Tsipras and Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in the so called Prespa (Prespes) Agreement.

Under it, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia would adopt the name “Republic of North Macedonia”, while Greece would recognize its new name, and lift its vetoes to the former’s accession talks with NATO and the EU.

Greece has been vetoing Macedonia’s bids to join the EU and NATO since it insists the name of the former Yugoslav republic threatens its national integrity as northern Greek administrative districts are also named “Macedonia”.

The ratification of the name dispute deal in Macedonia has also been tumultuous, including a failed referendum and aid from opposition defectors.

(Banner image: TV grab from Al Jazeera)

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