FYROM's PM Struggles to Secure Majority for Name Change

Αssociated Press

FILE - FYROM's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev speaks during a session of the Macedonian Parliament in the capital Skopje, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE, FYROM (AP) — FYROM's prime minister is struggling to get the required number of lawmakers to finalize constitutional changes that will rename the country North Macedonia and allow its NATO accession under a deal with neighboring Greece.

Zoran Zaev said Thursday he has not yet secured support from the required two-thirds of the 120-seat parliament, or 80 lawmakers. A planned parliamentary session on the matter was postponed for Friday.

Zaev's efforts were complicated after a small ethnic Albanian party demanded that the planned constitutional designation "Macedonian citizenship" be changed to "citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia."

The party says this will safeguard the identity of ethnic Albanians — about a quarter of FYROM's 2.1-million population.

Zaev said the reference to Macedonian citizenship is key for his country in the deal with Greece.