Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may face a no confidence vote in parliament over his decision to finally sign on a deal that allowed neighboring Macedonia to keep its name, which is identical to a northern province in Greece.
The opposition New Democracy party said on Wednesday that it planned to submit a motion of no confidence against Tsipras over the Tuesday deal reached in Skopje, in which Greece agreed to call the former Yugoslav nation the “Republic of Northern Macedonia”.
The historic agreement, which settled nearly three decades of name dispute, should now go to a referendum in Macedonia, while it also needs the approval of parliaments in the Balkan country as well as Greece.
However, a source in the New Democracy said the center-right party would submit the no confidence motion after an ongoing debate on bailout reforms end on Thursday.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis had earlier criticized Tsipras for signing the deal, saying it would become “deeply problematic” as the premier lacked the authority to sign it.
“We are in a situation that is unprecedented in Greece’s constitutional history. A prime minister without a clear parliamentary mandate willing to commit the country to a reality which will not be possible to change,” Mitsotakis said on Wednesday.
Right-wing parties have consistently opposed a deal with Macedonia, saying the use of the name “Macedonia” implies a territorial claim on a northern Greek province of the same name.
Ordinary Greeks also feel that the establishment of a country with that name would mean more loss of sovereignty for Greece, a country which has already felt subordination to Europe due to successive economic bailouts.
“It’s one thing to sell off a part of yourself for a bailout and a different thing to sell off your land, it hurts deeply,” said a 40-year-old private sector employee, adding, “We have lost, we retreated.”
Greece’s final approval for the Tuesday accord allows Macedonia to eventually join NATO and the European Union.