7 in 10 Greeks still opposing Macedonia name deal: survey

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-04 04:48:43|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ATHENS, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The 69 percent of Greeks still opposes the Macedonia name agreement, according to a survey released on Sunday's "To Vima" (The Tribune) local newspaper.

The 71 percent of respondents in the poll conducted by polling firm Metron Analysis said that they will be referring to the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as Skopje, the name of its capital.

The parliaments of the two Balkan states ratified in January the agreement reached last summer to end the name dispute which started in 1991, when FYROM declared independence from Yugoslavia choosing the name Macedonia, the same name as a province in northern Greece.

Athens had rejected the choice from the beginning fearing future territorial claims and raising obstacles to FYROM's accession to the EU and NATO.

Under the agreement, FYROM will be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia.

Although the Greek parliament was due to ratify in the first half of February also FYROM's NATO accession protocol, according to the agreed timetable, the majority of Greek citizens seem to have not yet been persuaded to accept a name containing the word "Macedonia".

The name agreement also caused the departure of the junior party from the Left-led government coalition in Greece in January, leaving Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with a minority government which controls 145 seats in the 300-member strong assembly.

Although the Greek leader insists that the general elections will be held in autumn this year, when the government's term in office expires, several local media see snap elections this spring.

Should elections be held on Sunday the conservative main opposition New Democracy party would win with 37.2 percent of votes, according to the opinion poll, and the ruling SYRIZA party would follow with 25.1 percent.

The far-Right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party would get 9.1 percent of votes, followed by the center-Left Movement for Change with 7 percent and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) with 6.1 percent of votes.