SKOPJE - Macedonia's parliament has rejected a diaspora group's request for a second referendum on a deal to rename the country North Macedonia in exchange for NATO and potentially European Union membership.
Lawmakers voted 49-9 on Wednesday against the request from the World Macedonian Congress. The 120-seat parliament's remaining lawmakers were absent.
The bid had secured preliminary approval by a parliamentary committee. But parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi said Macedonian law prevents a second referendum on the same issue to be held within two years of voters having had their say.
The diaspora group challenged the relevance of a September referendum that showed overwhelming support for the name deal, but had low voter turnout.
The agreement ends a decades-long dispute with Greece over the Macedonia name. It has been ratified in both countries.