Greece's New-Found Stability Put to Test With Tsipras on Brink

Alexis Tsipras has called a confidence vote after Defense Minister and coalition partner Panos Kammenos resigned

BREAKING: Greek Defence Minister Resigns Ahead Of Macedonia Name Vote

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev secured the required majority in parliament on Friday that was needed to rename the country in line with a landmark agreement with Greece to end a decades-long dispute.

Parliamentary elections are due in Greece by October. Tsipras's Syriza party has 145 seats and also the support of one independent lawmaker.

"The Macedonia issue does not allow me not to sacrifice my post", Kammenos said on January 13 following talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Macedonia was founded in 1991 and recognized by the United Nations in 1993, but was accepted to the United Nations membership with the name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) due to Greek objection to the name Macedonia.

ANEL leader Kammenos has long promised to reject the Prespes Agreement but several of his MPs have said publicly they will support it, generating new internal break-up scenarios each day.

Its neighbour has agreed to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, but Kammenos was still not happy.

The main opposition New Democracy party, widely favoured to win the next elections whenever they are held this year, has said it will block the deal which it faults over its treatment of the "Macedonian" nationality question.

During crisis talks with Alex Tsipras, Panos Kammenos said he had tendered his resignation as defence minister and pulled his ministers from the coalition.

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ANEL is the junior party in Greece's ruling coalition and strongly opposes the name change, a rift that threatens to destabilise the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who helped broker the deal.

Tsipras has said that the chamber would be asked to ratify the agreement with Macedonia by the end of the month.

Athens claimed that the name made it sound like Macedonia the country has its eyes set on annexing Macedonia the province - or at the least was appropriating Greece's historical heritage.

"Our parliament found the strength but it wasn't easy".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the parliament's decision, praising the Macedonian leader's "vision, courage and persistence" in seeking a resolution to the dispute with Greece that would allow it to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union. "But I am convinced that the Greek parliament will also find the strength to make the decision", he said.

And, he concluded, Macedonia is a name intrinsically linked with the Greek culture, which recalls the triumphs of the era of warrior king Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia.

New Democracy is vehemently against the agreement but Tsipras hopes to convince opposition MPs from smaller parties to back the historic name change deal.

The new name will be used both internationally and bilaterally, so that even the 140 or more countries that recognise the name Macedonia will also have to adopt North Macedonia.

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