Macedonia: Lawmakers who backed new name get more security

Macedonia: Lawmakers who backed new name get more security
Lawmakers of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE stand on the right and react during the voting on proposal on a motion for constitutional revision during a session of the Macedonian Parliament in the capital Skopje, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Lawmakers in Macedonia on Friday backed the landmark proposal to amend the constitution, allowing the country to change its name and join NATO. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia’s interior minister says additional police protection is being provided to lawmakers who voted to support a deal that would change the country’s name.

Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski said Monday that all 80 parliament members who backed launching the constitutional amendment process needed for the change were getting extra security after several lawmakers and their families reported death threats.

Parliament voted 80-39 late Friday in favor of the government’s proposal for the amendment that would rename the small Balkan country as North Macedonia.

The government received cross-party support despite fierce objection from the opposition conservatives, who claimed that at least three lawmakers had been offered bribes.

The name change would end a long dispute with neighboring Greece, which in return would stop blocking Macedonia from joining NATO.