Greek government in turmoil over Macedonia
Defence minister quits over deal struck to allow Macedonia to change its name
Greece’s coalition government is in crisis, after a minister said he would pull his party’s support for the prime minister over a deal that would end a decades-old dispute between Greece and neighbouring Macedonia.
Defence minister Panos Kammenos, who is also the leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks party, informed prime minister Alexis Tsipras of his intention to break the coalition, which threatens to cause snap elections.
“I revoke my support for the government. The Independent Greeks are leaving the government,” Kammenos said.
Kammenos quit the coalition after Macedonian lawmakers voted on Friday to rename their country the Republic of North Macedonia, ending the dispute with Greece whose northern region is also called Macedonia.
Tsipras responded by calling for an “immediate no-confidence vote” in the Greek parliament, The Daily Telegraph says. That process is likely to begin tomorrow and be completed by Thursday.
The deal between Macedonia and Greece was struck in June last year, and will need to be ratified by the Greek parliament before the name change comes into effect.
The name change would “open the door for the small Balkan nation’s membership in Nato and the European Union”, the New York Times says.