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Greek PM calls confidence vote after minister quits over Macedonia deal

Greek PM calls confidence vote after minister quits over Macedonia deal

Lawmakers in Athens tentatively planned to hold the confidence vote on Wednesday, months before regular elections are due in September. Tsipras's Syriza party has 145 seats and also the support of one independent lawmaker.

Mr Kammenos and his party, Independent Greeks, joined Mr Tsipras left-wing Government as a junior coalition partner despite being a right-wing nationalist force, in 2015.

The political crisis comes just 48 hours after the Macedonian parliament voted in favour of the agreement struck by Mr Tsipras and the Macedonian Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev.

The freaky political row centres around the tiny country of Macedonia's new name - the Republic of North Macedonia.

New Democracy on Sunday described the end of the Tsipras-Kammenos coalition as "a staged governmental divorce".

The deal, which still needs to be approved by Greece's Parliament, would change the name of Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia.

Kammenos has long opposed the accord with neighboring Macedonia signed by their governments previous year.

The conservative party said the "charade" aimed to allow the ratification of the Macedonia name change deal and keep Tsipras in power.

Tsipras added that Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, who held the post of the chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff since 2015, will replace Kammenos as the new defense minister.

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday said he would call a confidence vote in his government after his coalition ally quit, leaving him bereft of a parliamentary majority and raising the possibility of snap elections.

A Greek prosecutor had on Saturday ordered an investigation into allegations of threats against lawmakers over an upcoming parliamentary vote to end a 27-year dispute with Macedonia, a judicial source said.

"Within 10 days... if we see everything is in order, we will vote", Tsipras said on Friday evening.

So Macedonia (the country) has now changed its name to North Macedonia.

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

The dispute, which has raged since it voted for independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, is blocking Macedonia's hopes of joining 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", Zaev told a press conference in Skopje.

Meanwhile, ahead of the vote in Athens, two news websites alleged that a prominent member of Greece's main opposition New Democracy party - which rejects the name deal - called on its members to phone lawmakers of the ANEL party and urge them to vote against the agreement.

Greece has a province called Macedonia and long demanded Skopje change its country's name to remove what Athens considered to be an implied claim to Greek sovereign territory.

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.


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