“Less than half of Macedonia’s electorate turned out to vote on whether their country’s name should be changed as part of a deal with Greece. That hasn’t fazed the prime minister. He’s vowed to push ahead with the plan.
Despite low voter turnout, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev declared Sunday’s referendum on changing the country’s name to North Macedonia a “democratic success.”
Electoral officials said more than 90 percent backed the renaming deal, but only around 35 percent of the electorate cast ballots — well short of the 50 percent threshold needed to make a poll legally valid.” (Deutsche Welle)
“Macedonia’s prime minister pledged on Sunday to press on with a vote in parliament to change the country’s name to resolve a decades-old dispute with Greece, despite failing to secure the 50 percent turnout at a referendum required to make it valid.
In an address, Zaev made no mention of the turnout but said the votes of those who had backed the change must be respected. He pledged to hold a vote in parliament on the name change, and call an early election if lawmakers failed to enact it.
‘I am determined to take Macedonia into the European Union and NATO,’ Zaev said. He spoke again later in the evening, along similar lines: ‘It is time to support European Macedonia.'” (Reuters)
“The EU quickly sought to brand the vote a success and urged parliament to implement the deal with Greece, signed on the shores of Lake Prespa, which forms a natural boundary between the two countries.
‘I congratulate those citizens who voted in today’s consultative referendum and made use of their democratic freedoms,’ said Johannes Hahn, the EU’s commissioner for relations with its neighbors. He said the vote showed ‘broad support’ for the deal with Greece and for moving closer to European and transatlantic institutions.” (Politico)