Athens, Greece – The government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survived a vote of confidence with a breath, keeping alive the hopes of being able to ratify an agreement with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that would change the name of that country in northern Macedonia.  "We will have a vote of confidence and we will continue," said Tsipras confidently before the vote in parliament on Wednesday
. The Syriza ruling party was left with a minority of 145 deputies in the 300-seat parliamentary term on Sunday, after its coalition partner, Panos Kammenos, leader of the Greek Independent Party (1
Tsipras asked for a vote of confidence to rebuild his majority and serve his full title in October.
Five deputies crashed from Independent Greeks to support him, and won another MP from the Potami center party, securing a majority of 151 seats.
"The whole political scene is being reorganized," Deputy Minister of Defense Fotis Kouvelis said. "I believe that the agreement [Macedonia] is cutting the political system."
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Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the conservative opposition party New Democracy, saw the process of building the majority of the government quite differently during a heated debate full of accusations .
"This shame to borrow parliamentarians back and forth to create temporary majorities … You have used foreign policy to undermine national unity", accused Tsipras
"This is not called patriotism, it's called opportunism, "added Mitsotakis.
For his part, Kammenos told Tsipras in parliament: "I ask you to stop the discussion of a vote of confidence and to announce that we will submit to the Greek people's vote, and that we will respect that vote."
Tsipras rejected the idea of a referendum on the agreement with Macedonia. He intends to take him to a parliamentary vote, probably as early as next week, but not all the 151 deputies who gave him a vote of confidence support the agreement.
Long decades dispute
Greece and former Yugoslavia have been locked in a conflict over the name of that country for 27 years. If ratified in Greece, the agreement would remove the Greek veto on the country's accession to NATO and the European Union as Northern Macedonia and could help speed up reforms by other former candidates. Yugoslavia.
The agreement was announced in June after a six-month negotiation, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ratified it last week.
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When Yugoslavia broke up in 1991, its southernmost state declared independence as the Republic of Macedonia. Greece rejected this name, on the grounds that the new country could express designs on the region of northern Macedonia, with which it shares a border.
After vetoing the entry of Yugoslavia in 2008, Greece agreed to settle on a name that contains the term Macedonia plus a qualifier. Many Greeks are also against that compromise; and many are alarmed by the fact that the agreement recognizes Macedonian nationality, believing that it can easily be confused to involve an indigenous Macedonian ethnicity. This, they believe, could ignite competitive claims on the history and heritage of ancient Greece.
The neighboring north of Greece tried to appease these fears, saying in a diplomatic communiqué that "the term nationality refers exclusively to citizenship and does not designate or prejudice the question of the ethnicity of the citizens of northern Macedonia"
"We are against [to the agreement] not because the government has negotiated, but because it has not understood what is not negotiable", wrote 12 academics in an open letter to Tsipras.
Some parliamentarians elected in the Greek region of Macedonia received death threats. Deputy Minister of Public Order Katerina Papakosta resigned after receiving photos of women with stuck heads. Tsipras did not accept it. A 63-year-old man was arrested Monday in Athens, presumably for sending threatening text messages to parliamentary cell phones.
Tsipras' to-do list goes well beyond the name of Macedonia.
The prime minister says he wants to amend the constitution to make ministers of ministers more responsible, raise the minimum wage and approve legislation that protects primary residences from seizure, while banks block non-performing loans.