Greece's Tsipras Survives No-Confidence Vote Over Macedonia Deal
(Bloomberg) -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survived a no-confidence vote in parliament, securing support to move forward to sign an agreement with the Republic of Macedonia and to continue governing until his term expires in 2019.
A total of 153 lawmakers in the 300-seat chamber voted against the opposition-backed motion, the parliament speaker said after the session in Athens, against 127 votes in favor.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, submitted the no-confidence motion against Tsipras on Thursday after the government struck an agreement on June 12 with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to solve a 27-year-old dispute over the name of Greece’s northern neighbor.
“We have a good deal” Tsipras said during his speech in Parliament on Saturday night, adding that opposition doesn’t want any kind of agreement with the neighboring country.
Tsipras and Zaev agreed to call the Balkan state of 2 million people “the Republic of North Macedonia,” as they seek to unlock that country’s accession process to both the European Union and NATO.
The agreement sparked objections in both Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, whose President, Gjorge Ivanov said he won’t sign the deal to rename his country, claiming that the proposal contradicts the country’s constitution and national interests.
Tsipras won the motion even though his main coalition partner, Panos Kammenos, has repeatedly said the party won’t vote to ratify the agreement when it’s submitted to Parliament. Kammenos’s Independent Greeks party opposes using “Macedonia” in the name.
The Greek government won’t have to get parliamentary approval for the deal until there’s a constitutional revision in Macedonia. To move forward with such a revision, Zaev must first get the agreement ratified by the parliament in Skopje, hold a referendum and then obtain another, enhanced parliamentary majority for the change. The process is estimated to unfold through the end of 2018.
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