Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and members of his government applaud after a vote on an accord between Greece and Macedonia changing the former Yugoslav republic's name in Athens, Greece, January 25, 2019.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and members of his government applaud after a vote on an accord between Greece and Macedonia changing the former Yugoslav republic's name in Athens, Greece, January 25, 2019.

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.