Despite referendum debacle: Macedonian Government passes motion initiating constitutional changes

The Macedonian government held Monday an extraordinary session to review a motion initiating a change in the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia. After adopting the text, the government concluded to send the document to the Macedonian Parliament for consideration before reaching a decision on launching a procedure to amend the Constitution.

The government proposes inclusion of the adjective North in the name Republic of Macedonia throughout the text of the Constitution before the word Macedonia. Changes to the Constitution's preamble are also proposed so as to align it with the Prespa Agreement and to change two articles, said Mile Bosnjakovski.

The preamble, in the section for statehood and legal traditions, will contain concrete documents adopted at the Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM), the government spokesman told a news conference.

The government, he added, also proposes changes enhancing 'border guarantee' in Article 3 of the Constitution, which was already amended in 1992.

"The new proposal will champion observance of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the neighboring countries, thus strengthening the guarantee for the existing borders and declaring that Macedonia has no territorial ambitions. It means protection of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Macedonia and of the neighboring states," elaborated Bosnjakovski.

The government also proposes a change to Article 49 of the Constitution about Macedonian expatriates and the diaspora abroad. It was also amended in 1992.

"Under the constitutional amendment, the Republic of Macedonia cares for the cultural, economic and social rights of representatives of the Macedonian nation and all of our citizens residing abroad without implying interference into the sovereign rights of other countries and in their internal affairs in any form and for any reason," the spokesman said.

Now it is up to the members of Parliament, regardless of their party affiliation, to voice their opinion about the government's proposal.

"They have a historic duty and obligation before the citizens to pave Macedonia's way toward stability, security and economic prosperity. It is the way to the EU and NATO paved by the Agreement between Macedonia and Greece. The MPs are expected to decide to this end and as an expression of respect of the will of the citizens voting in the referendum, and also the will of almost 80% of citizens that approve Macedonia becoming a member of the EU and NATO," noted Bosnjakovski.

The MPs, he added, should make a decision that will make Macedonia a better place to live in.

Asked whether the proposal initiating constitutional changes suggested that a 2/3 majority had been secured in Parliament, Bosnjakovski said that the government today was launching the process and expected the lawmakers to follow the will of the people in the Sept. 30 referendum. 

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