Sat. May 25th, 2024

North Macedonia’s first woman president was inaugurated on Sunday, with the new nationalist leader angering Greece after a speech that did not acknowledge her country’s new name.

The Balkan nation added “North” to its title in 2018 to end a long-running dispute with Greece, following an historic agreement. 

But Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova’s party, the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE, opposed the accord and has refused to acknowledge the country’s new name.

The right-wing party earned an easy victory in parliamentary and presidential elections on Wednesday, with the ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) conceding defeat before any official results were announced. 

Addressing lawmakers and assembled invited VIPs on Sunday, Siljanovska-Davkova said she would “respect the constitution and the laws and shall protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Macedonia”.

“I declare I shall carry out the office of president of Macedonia in a conscientious and responsible manner,” she added.

The official written text of her address included the official name North Macedonia, an AFP reporter saw.

Siljanovska-Davkova, who turned 71 on Saturday, was elected as president to a five-year mandate after securing a second-round poll victory with 65 percent of the vote. 

She defeated Social Democratic outgoing head of state Stevo Pendarovski, who gathered 29 percent.

The retired university professor vowed to be the president of “all citizens”.

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