Nation’s new name becomes North Macedonia election issue

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — The renaming of Balkan country Macedonia this year has emerged as a hot issue in North Macedonia’s upcoming presidential election.

Center-left candidate Stevo Pendarovski defended the name change at a campaign rally in the capital of Skopje on Sunday. He reminded the rally crowd that it was part of a deal with Greece that paves the way for NATO membership.

Conservative candidate Siljanovska Davkova blamed the current government for the “painful” name change on Saturday and accused it of corruption and nepotism.

North Macedonia and Greece reached a deal last year to end an almost three-decade dispute over the Macedonia name. The name change was one of the deal terms.

The election is April 21. North Macedonia’s prime minister is head of government, the president head of state.

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