Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he still doesn’t have the support of 80 members of Parliament for the deal to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia, despite the announcement from his party yesterday that they have the two thirds majority. Zaev insists that only 80 votes are needed to amend the Constitution, but he is still short given the opposition from the ethnic Albanian BESA party, whose demands to delete any mention of “Macedonians” from the deal is contrary to the position of a group of eight former VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament.

We are looking into technical aspects of the issue. The citizenship is of course Macedonian and will remain so. BESA does not want to alter the identity. The watchful eye of the eight members of Parliament and of all of us is making sure that doesn’t happen. We are looking into technical formulations on the citizenship for all, said Zaev.

The text negotiated with Greece is “Nationality: Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia”, but BESA insists that the word Macedonian is removed, so as not to predetermine the ethnic background of Albanians in Macedonia. Zaev said that Macedonians should not be worried that our Albanian fellow citizens will further undermine our national identity.

Zaev insisted that ultimately he will get the 80 votes in Parliament, and if not, he announced that he will convene the Central Committee of the SDSM party and ask them to determine his responsibility for the failure.

We put everything on this card. In politics, sometimes you get the laurels and sometimes assume responsibility, said Zaev.