Macedonia referendum records low turnout, both sides claim victory

Macedonia’s name deal referendum appears to have produced an inconclusive result. With 88.5 percent of votes counted Sunday night, Macedonia’s State Electoral Commission reported 91.33 percent voted yes (if favor of changing the name of the country to North Macedonia) and 5.76 percent voted no, Balkan Insight reports. However, turnout was at 36.84 percent, well short of the 50 percent needed for the referendum to be legally binding.

Both Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev, who called the referendum, and the conservative opposition VMRO party, which opted to boycott the vote at the last minute, declared victory following the announcement of the results. Zaev says he is going to press on and get the Macedonian parliament to ratify the name agreement with Greece, which will require a two thirds vote. Currently, Zaev’s side controls 71 of the 120 seats in the parliament. Zaev will need at least 9 MPs to flip on the issue in order to get the constitutional amendment passed. Zaev threatened to call early elections if he cannot muster parliamentary support for the name deal.


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