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Macedonian president refuses to approve country’s name change

Gjorge Ivanov has argued that the agreement with Greece is unconstitutional.

Macedonia’s president has fulfilled his threat to withhold approval over a deal with neighbouring Greece for his country to change its name to North Macedonia.

Gjorge Ivanov’s decision will delay but not derail the deal that Macedonia’s parliament has already ratified.

Under the country’s constitution, if MPs meeting for a second time once again approve legislation that the president has refused to sign, then the president can no longer block it.

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There were clashes earlier this week in Thessaloniki, Greece, during protests against the name change deal with Macedonia (AP)

Parliament speaker Talat Xhafer said MPs will probably repeat the vote next week.

Mr Ivanov’s office argued that the agreement is unconstitutional.

The agreement with Greece will require several more steps, including a referendum this autumn in Macedonia, before it can be fully implemented.

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