14:59 GMT14 May 2021
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    BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Hristijan Mickoski, the leader of Macedonia’s largest opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, called for the dissolution of the parliament and holding snap elections after the legislature approved constitutional amendments necessary for renaming the country under a deal with Greece.

    On Friday, 81 out of 120 members of the parliament supported the amendments needed to rename Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia, which is expected to open the way for the country’s accession to NATO and the European Union. While some of the VMRO-DPMNE members supported the renaming, others boycotted the vote, leaving Mickoski with 39 mandates in the 120-strong parliament.

    "VMRO-DPMNE calls for the immediate dissolution of the parliament and holding the snap [legislative] election alongside the presidential vote [scheduled for April] in line with the law and experience. VMRO-DPMNE will win this election and the will of the majority of the citizens will be implemented," Mickoski said in a statement.

    The opposition figure said the approval of the constitutional amendments, backed by 81 Macedonian lawmakers, was not a decision made by the people, adding it harmed the nation.

    VMRO-DPMNE believed that the constitutional amendments had been approved in a criminal and illegitimate way with the use of pressure, blackmailing and threats, Mickoski argued.

    READ MORE: Macedonian Parl't Approves Country's Name Change to Republic of North Macedonia

    Athens and Skopje reached the agreement on renaming Macedonia in June. In September, the move was supported by over 91 percent of Macedonians at a referendum. However, the turnout at the plebiscite was 37 percent with the required threshold of 50 percent.

    Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Athens has been in dispute with the country over its name, claiming that Macedonia might have territorial claims over Greece’s own region of the same name. Moreover, Athens has been blocking Skopje's NATO and EU ambitions over the lack of agreement on the issue.


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