The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYROM), Gjorge Ivanov, said on Tuesday that he will not sign an accord settling a decades-old name dispute Greece and paving the way for the Balkan nation’s accession to the European Union and NATO.
According to FYROM’s MIA news agency, the opposition-backed Ivanov said in an announcement issued by his office that the agreement with Greece, renaming the former Yugoslav republic to North Macedonia, has “no constitutional grounds and is not ratified in compliance with the constitution.”
“The agreement puts ‘Macedonia’ in a subordinate position to another country, namely the Republic of Greece,” the statement added.
Ivanov’s veto is expected to be overturned by parliament, which ratified the name deal on June 20, before it goes back to the president.
FYROM’s prime minister, Zoran Zaev, meanwhile, has threatened to file an impeachment motion against Ivanov if the president fails to back the agreement, though he would need support from the opposition to do so.
Earlier on Tuesday, Zaev expressed confidence that the name deal would be approved by a comfortable majority in a referendum this autumn. He predicted that it would clinch as much as 75 or even 85 percent of support, in line with the percentage of citizens who want to see FYROM join the EU and NATO.