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Greek government splits over Macedonia name change

Athens, Greece – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked parliament for a vote of confidence after a senior minister resigned over the Macedonia name change agreement, potentially leaving the governing coalition without a workable majority in parliament. Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and his Independent Greeks party quit Greece’s ruling coalition on Sunday, over a deal struck…

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Greek government splits over Macedonia name change

Athens, Greece – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked parliament for a vote of confidence after a senior minister resigned over the Macedonia name change agreement, potentially leaving the governing coalition without a workable majority in parliament.

Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and his Independent Greeks party quit Greece’s ruling coalition on Sunday, over a deal struck with former Yugoslav Macedonia last June, which would rename that country North Macedonia.

Many Greeks believe that any name containing the term Macedonia would imply territorial claims on Greece’s northern province of the same name, incorporated into the Greek state in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

“We cannot, for the sake of membership in the government, sacrifice Macedonia for which blood has been spilled,” Kammenos said on Sunday.

With the confidence vote scheduled for Wednesday, the prime minister’s Syriza party is six votes short of the 151 votes needed for a majority in the 300-seat chamber.

“I have made it absolutely clear… that faced with what is obviously beneficial to the nation, what is in the national interest, I shall not turn back, I shall not show cowardice, I shall not count the political cost,” Tsipras said on Sunday.

Kammenos has been in open disagreement with Tsipras since talks with former Yugoslav Macedonia began a year ago. When the deal was announced last June, the opposition conservatives brought a vote of no-confidence. Kammenos took an ambivalent stance, supporting the government even as he opposed the deal.

That stance split the party. At least two Independent Greeks MPs now say they will defect and side with the government. Another two votes could come from Independent Greeks MPs who are cabinet members and have not yet resigned, suggesting they will remain loyal to the government rather than their party. Tsipras could hope to pick up another two votes from among nine independents.

Should the government survive Wednesday’s vote, it has hopes of passing the Macedonia deal by virtue of the same minority.

Kammenos’ departure was triggered by the ratification of the agreement in the former Yugoslav Macedonian parliament on Friday. Kammenos had said he didn’t believe either parliament would ratify it, and was apparently surprised.

Greeks who oppose the name deal applaud what Kammenos did, even if the action came late.

“The government should fall and the agreement should not pass. There is only one Macedonia and it is Greek,” said lawyer, Zoi Perili. “This agreement, in the distant future, could prove to be against our country. Sooner or later Skopje will seek an outlet to the sea. The nearest port is Thessaloniki.”

Others believe Kammenos’ departure came too late to prevent the deal.

“The agreement has been in process for a year. We knew Skopje would pass it… [Independent Greeks] waited until the last possible minute,” says Dimitris Bovaris. “When you make promises as a country, you have to come through on them. The Greek government undertook a commitment to ratify this agreement if it was ratified by the other side. So this is theatre. It won’t end well.”

The constitution allows for a minority government for as long as opposition parties will tolerate it. It also allows bills to pass on the basis of a majority of MPs present, rather than absolute majorities.

On the basis of these minimum standards, the Syriza government could technically continue to govern and attempt to bring the Macedonia name deal to the floor without securing 151 votes. However, the government has said that it does not consider this option politically viable.

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Political outsider to stand against Orban in Hungary’s 2022 vote

A small-town conservative and father of seven will lead an alliance of six opposition parties in next year’s parliamentary vote.A Hungarian political outsider with no party affiliation will run against Prime Minister Viktor Orban in next year’s parliamentary election after winning an opposition runoff primary on Sunday. Small-town conservative Peter Marki-Zay defeated left-wing Klara Dobrev…

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Political outsider to stand against Orban in Hungary’s 2022 vote

A small-town conservative and father of seven will lead an alliance of six opposition parties in next year’s parliamentary vote.A Hungarian political outsider with no party affiliation will run against Prime Minister Viktor Orban in next year’s parliamentary election after winning an opposition runoff primary on Sunday.
Small-town conservative Peter Marki-Zay defeated left-wing Klara Dobrev who pledged to support him at the head of an alliance of six opposition parties.
“We can only win together,” Marki-Zay told cheering supporters with his wife and seven children standing behind him.
“This was a battle, but we have to win the war as well,” he said, referring to the 2022 election.
The vote, which will determine the 199 seats of the Hungarian Parliament, is expected to be held by April.
Dobrev conceded defeat and sided with his former opponent. “I wish him a lot of strength … in our effort to unseat Viktor Orban and then dismantle his regime,” he told a news conference.

While final results were due later on Sunday, Marki-Zay’s lead appeared unassailable. With 60 percent of the votes counted, he was leading by a margin of about 58-42 percent.
Marki-Zay’s family-man image and Christian faith could appeal to lots of undecided voters. He has sought to portray himself as a palatable choice for both left-wing and conservative voters, campaigning on leading a coalition of “the clean” and promising to root out corruption.
Opinion polls show Orban’s conservative Fidesz party and the opposition alliance running neck-and-neck.
An economist and engineer who lived in the United States and Canada for five years, Marki-Zay rose to prominence in 2018 when he won a mayoral contest in his southern hometown, Hodmezovasarhely, a Fidesz party stronghold.
For the first time since coming to power in 2010, Orban will face a united front of opposition parties that includes the Socialists, liberals and the formerly far right, now centre right, Jobbik.
While Orban has had a series of disputes with the European Union, Marki-Zay is looking to improve relations with Brussels and is in favour of Hungary adopting the euro in the foreseeable future.

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Who benefits from plans for a biennial football World Cup?

FIFA wants to change the frequency of the World Cup but not everyone is convinced.

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Who benefits from plans for a biennial football World Cup?

FIFA wants to change the frequency of the World Cup but not everyone is convinced.

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India: 8 dead, 20 missing as heavy rains lash Kerala

Slide Menus Show/Hide Left Slide Menu Show/Hide Right Slide Menu Show/Hide Top Slide Menu Show/Hide Bottom Slide Menu   Web Report/Dubai Filed on October 17, 2021 Rescue forces recover three more bodies in Kottayam Eight people have died and 20 have been reported missing as heavy rains continued to lash Kerala on Sunday. According to…

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India: 8 dead, 20 missing as heavy rains lash Kerala

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Filed on October 17, 2021

Rescue forces recover three more bodies in Kottayam

Eight people have died and 20 have been reported missing as heavy rains continued to lash Kerala on Sunday.
According to the Times of India, three more bodies were recovered from Koottickal in the Kottayam district on Sunday.
State ministers K Rajan, Roshy Augustine and VN Vasavan took part in a review meeting to assess the situation arising in the state at Mundakkayam, Kottayam.
The National Disaster Response Force conducted a rescue operation in Kokkayar, Idukki after the rains triggered a landslide on Saturday.
NDRF team conducts rescue operation in Kokkayar, Idukki where landslide occurred yesterday#KeralaRains pic.twitter.com/RLAhF0HxSV— TOI Kochi (@TOIKochiNews) October 17, 2021
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