Greece: Opposition head to call no-confidence vote in govt | Pakistan Today

Greece: Opposition head to call no-confidence vote in govt

ATHENS: The prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia were facing political storms at home Thursday, two days after reaching a historic deal to settle a decades-old dispute over Macedonia’s name.
Greece’s Alexis Tsipras faces a vote of no-confidence in his government, while Macedonia’s Zoran Zaev is contending with the refusal of the country’s president to sign off on the deal if it is approved by parliament.
Zaev and Tsipras agreed earlier this week that the former Yugoslav republic should be renamed North Macedonia, ending a disagreement that had prevented it from joining international institutions such as NATO and poisoned bilateral relations since the early 1990s.
But the dispute has roused strong nationalist sentiment in both countries for years. Critics on both sides of the border were furious, accusing their respective prime ministers of conceding too much.
Greece has long demanded its northern neighbor change its name, saying the term “Macedonia” implies territorial claims on its own northern province of the same name, birthplace of the ancient warrior king Alexander the Great, and usurps ancient Greek heritage and history.
Opponents in Greece object to any use of the term “Macedonia” in their northern neighbor’s name. Critics in Macedonia see any modification of the country’s name as a threat to their national identity.
In Athens, Tsipras faced a direct challenge to his left-led coalition government’s survival after main opposition New Democracy party head Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would submit a motion later Thursday for a no-confidence vote.
“I have an obligation before the Greek people to try to avert the mortgaging of our country’s future with an agreement that is detrimental to our national interests,” Mitsotakis said. “I challenge Mr. Tsipras … if he dares, to convert the motion of no-confidence into a motion of confidence in the government.”
Tsipras has a four-seat majority in the 300-member parliament, but the name deal has led to a rift within the government. The stance of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who heads the coalition’s junior partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks party, will be crucial.
Kammenos said before the deal was announced that he would oppose the agreement in a parliamentary vote, which would leave Tsipras dependent on support from political opponents to ratify it in parliament. It is unclear, however, whether his objections to the Macedonia name deal would lead him to bring down the government by voting against Tsipras in a no-confidence motion.
Mitsotakis was to formally submit the motion later Thursday, after a parliamentary vote on economic reforms, and debate was to begin Thursday evening.
Meanwhile in Macedonia, Zaev was faced with with a refusal by the country’s president, Gjorge Ivanov, to sign off on the deal if it is ratified by parliament. Such a refusal would delay the implementation of the deal, which is expected to be signed this weekend.
“Such a harmful agreement, which is unique in the history of mankind, is shameful and unacceptable for me,” Ivanov said in a Wednesday television address. “It violates the Constitution (and) the laws … I will not legalize political illegal agreements.”