News Alerts

01 Oct 2018 | 10:42 AM UTC

Macedonia: Protests likely following name-change referendum /update 2

Republic of Macedonia News Alert

Vote to proceed in Parliament despite low turnout in the name-change referendum held on September 30; associated protests expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/1/2018, 12:00 AM until 10/8/2018, 11:59 PM (Europe/Skopje). COUNTRY/REGION Macedonia

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The Macedonian prime minister has announced that a vote in Parliament regarding the country's name change would proceed, despite having failed to secure the minimum-required 50 percent turnout during the associated referendum held on Sunday, September 30. While the referendum yielded a majority of votes in favor of a name change, it was not legally binding as turnout was only 36 percent. Opposition parties have strongly criticized the prime minister's decision to proceed with the vote. Associated protests can be expected in the coming days.


On June 20, Macedonia's parliament ratified an agreement with Greece, which would see Macedonia formally change its name to Republic of North Macedonia from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The change is intended to end a 27-year-long dispute with Greece over the name and clear the way for Macedonia's entry to the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The conflict has stemmed from Greece's claim that the name "Macedonia" connotes aspirations for the territorial annexation of the eponymous northern Greek region, and appropriates the history of ancient Macedonia once ruled by the Greek Alexander the Great. The name change has been controversial in both Greece and Macedonia, spurring demonstrations in each country.


Individuals in Macedonia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, and avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public.


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