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North Macedonia. Gordana Siljanowska-Dawkowa did not mention the full name of her country when she was sworn in as president

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Gordana Siljanowska-Dawkowa, the new president of North Macedonia, refused to use the full name of the country when she was sworn into office. She only said “Macedonia”. The adoption of the name “North Macedonia” resolved the dispute between Skopje and Athens in 2018.

– I declare that I will conscientiously and responsibly exercise the office of President of Macedonia, that I will respect the constitution and laws, and that I will defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Macedonia, said Siljanowska-Dawkova, the first woman in the history of the country to hold this position in parliament.

The full name “North Macedonia” was used in the official text of the speech.

Gordana Siljanowska-Dawkowa during her swearing in as presidentGEORGI LICOVSKI/PAP/EPA

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READ: The right-wing opposition won the parliamentary and presidential elections in North Macedonia

Prespa Agreement

As part of the 2018 Prespa Agreement between Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the government in Skopje agreed to change the country's name to calm Athens' fears of possible territorial claims to the northern Greek region of Aegean Macedonia.

The decision was required to open the way to the European Union and NATO for the Macedonians. North Macedonia joined the North Atlantic Alliance in 2020, but its negotiations with the EU are blocked by Bulgaria's demands for the status of the country's Bulgarian minority.

On Saturday, the groups participating in the formation of the new government indicated involvement in the EU accession process as a priority in the basis of the coalition agreement.

Gordana Siljanowska-Dawkowa is the first woman to assume the office of president in North Macedonia GEORGI LICOVSKI/PAP/EPA

A symbolic gesture of the ambassador

The right-wing VMRO-DPMNE party – which fielded Siljanowska-Dawkowa as a candidate in the recent presidential elections and will co-create the new government after the parallel parliamentary elections – opposed the agreement with Greece in 2018. However, during the last election campaign, the group assured that it would agree to use the name “North Macedonia” in the international arena.

In protest at the fact that the new president refused to use the country's official name, the Greek ambassador to Skopje, Sofia Filipidu, left the ceremony in parliament.

The situation was drawn to the attention of the Greek media, which reported that Silyanovska-Dawkova refused to use the constitutional name of her country “even though it was included in the text of her speech.”

Main photo source: GEORGI LICOVSKI/PAP/EPA

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