|Author (Corporate)||Cardiff EDC|
|Content Type||Key Source, Overview|
On 30 September 2018 FYR Macedonia held a referendum to consult the population on the proposed name change and consequently the country’s aim to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the European Union (EU).
The voter turnout did not meet the set threshold of 50%, as only 35% of the population voted in the referendum. A large majority of 91.3%, of the people that voted, favoured the name change, while only 5.7% opposed to the name change. The low voter turnout can be explained by opponents urging voters not to take part in the referendum.
The referendum preceded an agreement made by the Greek and FYR Macedonia governments on 12 June 2018. The agreement solved the long dispute with Greece and proposed the designation of 'Republic of North Macedonia' to rename the Balkan country. The name dispute with Greece has prevented FYR Macedonia from advancing its EU and NATO aspiration; as Greece would veto membership for both the EU and NATO.
Even though the referendum was not legally binding, lawmakers promised to accept the outcome of the referendum. In contrast, the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev of FYR Macedonia expressed he would proceed with the name change regardless of the referendum.
The agreement and the referendum had met opposition from various sides. The President of FYR Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, was opposed to the agreement with Greece as well as to the referendum. Also, Russia expressed concerns on the application of the referendum.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Subject Tags||National Politics|
|Countries / Regions||Greece, North Macedonia|