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Macedonian MPs reject request for 2nd referendum on country’s name

Macedonia’s parliament has rejected a diaspora group’s request for a second referendum on a deal to rename the country North Macedonia in exchange for NATO and potentially EU membership. Lawmakers voted 49-9 on Wednesday against the request from the World Macedonian Congress, AP reported. The 120-seat parliament’s remaining lawmakers were absent. The bid had secured preliminary approval by a parliamentary committee. However, parliament speaker Talat Xhaferi said Macedonian law prevents a second referendum on the same issue being held within two years of voters having had their say. The diaspora group challenged the relevance of a September referendum that showed overwhelming support for the name deal, but had low voter turnout. The agreement, which ends a decades-long dispute with Greece over the Macedonia name, has been ratified in both countries.