Macedonian president adamantly against name deal with Greece

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) President Gjorge Ivanov and EU enlargement commissioner give a press conference on September 4, 2012 after their talks at EU headquarters in Brussels. Macedonia was granted EU candidate status in 2005, but the start of the accession talks has been blocked ever since by Greece due to the name row. Athens and Skopje have been at loggerheads over the right to the name Macedonia since the former Yugoslav republic proclaimed independence in 1991, as a northern Greek province has the same name. AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GettyImages)


SKOPJE: Macedonia’s president is insisting that he will not sign off on a deal with Greece to change his country’s name, even after parliament ratified the agreement for a second time.

Gjorge Ivanov says the deal for Macedonia to be renamed “North Macedonia” is unconstitutional. The conservative main opposition party to which he belongs also opposes the agreement, saying it concedes too much to Greece,

A press release from Ivanov’s office Friday said his position “will not be changed by any pressure, blackmail and threats.”

Under Macedonia’s constitution, Ivanov can only reject legislation approved by parliament once. But he must approve it if lawmakers back it again — as happened on Thursday with the name deal.

However, Ivanov might indefinitely delay signing off on the deal, triggering a constitutional crisis.