Pasok and Movement for Change president Fofi Gennimata and other party leaders confirmed today that they stand behind Greece’s longstanding support for a composite name, with a geographic marker, to be used by everyone, for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
That position is also supported by former prime minister George Papandreou, who has been appointed to Gennimata’s leadership group.
Attacking the government
The confirmation of that position came after a closed-door party conference on the issue today, in a briefing for journalists covering the party.
Until now, Gennimata has avoided detailing her position and has instead attacked the government over the dispute between the ruling coalition partners on the matter.
A nationalist political life vest?
Syriza is veering toward acceptance of a composite name and Panos Kammenos’ Independent Greeks have vowed to vote down any use of the name Macedonia by Skopje.
The small Centrists’ Union party, led by Vasilis Leventis, has also vowed to vote down acceptance of any use of the name Macedonia by Greece’s northern neighbour.
A spate of recent polls show that neither the Independent Greeks nor the Centrists’ union can muster the three percent of the vote needed to enter parliament after the next elections, and many believe they are exploiting the issue for partisan gain.
Opposition to Skopje using the name Macedonia has been strongest in the Greek province of Macedonia, the locus of the ancient Kingdom of Macedon, both for historical reasons and because of the irredentist claims of nationalists in FYROM.
About 140 states have recognised the country by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia.
Any settlement must be ratified by a majority in the Greek parliament.
Gennimata, as other opposition leaders, argues that the differences within the government weaken Greece’s negotiating posture.
Sources said that the party will take a specific stand when the government presents its proposals for a compromise settlement, and that it would be imprudent to publicly debate the solution while complicated negotiations are ongoing.
Any compromise settlement will also presumably entail thorny issues of language and ethnicity.