Macedonian PM vows to respect people’s choice at name-change referendum
The government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will respect any result of the referendum on the country’s name, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Tuesday, Sputnik reported.
"Each of us must take responsibility for own future and future of our country. Your vote is your right … I personally promise that I will respect [any] result of your democratic choice regardless of the outcome. This result, your will, will be respected," Zaev said, as quoted by the government’s press service.
The prime minister pointed out that the Macedonians would preserve their national identity and language. Zaev added that there would be no minimum voter turnout at the upcoming referendum.
On Monday, the FYROM parliament endorsed the decision to hold a referendum on the country’s new constitutional name — the Republic of Northern Macedonia — on September 30. The decision was supported by 68 out of 120 lawmakers with the opposition members of parliament having abstained from the vote.
An agreement on the new name for Macedonia was signed by Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotsias on June 17. The deal ended a years-long dispute between the two countries over the use of "Macedonia," which is also the name of a region in Greece.
The country’s new constitutional name will open the way for Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO.