Sunday, April 21, 2019

#NORTHMACEDONIA: Controversial National Name Change Dominates Election For Largely Ceremonial Presidency

[world politics news]

What would normally be an inconsequential election for the largely ceremonial post of president in North Macedonia has morphed into an unofficial referendum on the June 2018 Prespes Agreement which settled, at least on paper, the name dispute between Greece and its newly-renamed neighbor, North Macedonia.

The country, which lies north of the Macedonia region in Greece, has long fought to keep its similar name, after becoming an independent nation after Yugoslavia broke apart in the early 1990s. Greeks demanded they change their name, saying there was only "one Macedonia."

North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev fought to get the deal with Greece ratified, but this issue still eclipses all others in the presidential election campaign.

While the presidency is largely ceremonial, the president must sign off on legislation and is the supreme commander of the armed forces.  Outgoing President Gjorge Ivanov has on multiple occasions refused to sign off on legislation and was in most cases bypassed.


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