The Interior Ministry is preparing for protests expected on Wednesday, when the Parliament begins to discuss the proposed amendments to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia.
Institutions around the Parliament building were ordered not to use the parking space around the Parliament because it will be needed for the Interior Ministry. Several associations which oppose the name change have said they will call their supporters to protest tomorrow. During earlier such rallies the police was out in force, sometimes even provoking or pushing back the protesters. A protest camp set across the street from the Parliament was removed two weeks ago.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev hopes that he will quickly secure the 81 votes he needs to push the constitutional amendments through. The largest opposition party VMRO-DPMNE said it will not participate in the session and walked out of the committee meetings on the amendments, which add ‘North’ to almost every mention of Macedonia in the Constitution. The amendments also offer further assurances to Greece that Macedonia will not intervene to protect the rights of ethnic Macedonians in northern Greece, and alter the Preamble to water down the reference to the World War Two ASNOM assembly, while adding the 2001 Ohrid peace treaty with Albanian insurgents to the list.

The outcome is still uncertain. Zaev’s Government pressured a number of former VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament with criminal charges and some of them also received lucrative public contracts during the negotiations, but another problem appeared when two smaller ethnic Albanian parties said they may not support the proposal. BESA and the Alliance of Albanians demand that the long negotiated nationality designation “Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia” is altered and the word “Macedonian” is removed.