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  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Center) called a confidence motion after meeting with resistance over a name deal signed in 2018.

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Center) called a confidence motion after meeting with resistance over a name deal signed in 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 January 2019

Tsipras won 151 votes, meeting the threshold he required in the 300-member assembly.

The required 151 lawmakers showed their support for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a confidence vote Wednesday avoiding the struggle of a snap election.

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“With the power of the Greek people, we build a Greece of progress, towards a Greece of conservation. This Greece deserves us,” the Prime Minister wrote on his personal Twitter page.

Tsipras called the confidence motion after his right-wing coalition partner Panos Kammenos quit the government on Jan. 13 in protest over a naming deal signed between Athens and Skopje last year. Per the agreement, the former Yugoslav Macedonia would be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia.

Primarily supported by defectors of Kammenos's Anel party and independents, Tsipras won 151 votes, meeting the threshold he required in the 300-member assembly, and allowing him to complete his term til’ October.

Prior to casting their ballots, the prime minister spoke to the chamber, saying he had called for the motion in order to reestablish a “vote of confidence in stability.”

"I call upon you with hand on heart to give a vote of confidence to the government which gave battle, which bled, but managed to haul the country out of memorandums and surveillance," he said, adding that he still had much to accomplish in the seven remaining months of his term.

Greek opponents of the agreement say Macedonia's new name - the Republic of North Macedonia, reached after decades of dispute between Athens and Skopje, represents an attempt to appropriate Greek identity.

The leader of the conservative opposition party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, denounced the motion as an attempt to divide the chamber, "This disgrace of borrowing MPs back and forth in order to create temporary majorities ... You have used foreign policy to undermine national unity.

"This isn’t called patriotism. It's called opportunism," Mitsotakis said.

Macedonia is the name of Greece's biggest northern region. The deal was signed between the two countries in mid-2018, contingent on ratification of parliaments in both countries and a necessary step for the tiny Balkan state to be considered for European Union and Nato membership.

The Macedonian parliament ratified the pact last week. It has yet to be brought to a vote by Greece, though that is expected this month.

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