>> Applause and defiance as Macedonia's Prime Minister says he will push on with a parliamentary vote to change the country's name. That despite his failure in a referendum on the issue.>> I know, the opposition knows. All the citizens know. There is and there can be no better agreement with Greece.
There is and there can be no alternative to Macedonia's membership of NATO and the EU. Macedonians voting overwhelmingly in favor of the change in Sunday's vote. But an opposition boycott meant not enough turned out to make the result valid. The result greeted with jubilation on the streets by opponents of change.
The referendum had asked whether to change the country's name from Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia. It was part of a deal agreed with neighboring Greece as a stepping stone to membership of NATO and the European Union. Athens has long vetoed Macedonia's entry because of the Greek province of the same name.
There can't be two Macedonia's, Greece says, that's cultural appropriation. They also argue that it could imply territorial claims over its province. But the referendum result may actually be a relief to Athens. The government there faced domestic opposition for backing the name deal. Sunday's vote could cause a political crisis for the Balkan state though.
The Prime Minister says he will call an early election if lawmakers now fail to enact the name change.