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Low voter turnout for Macedonia name change referendum

ANI | Updated: Oct 02, 2018 05:51 IST

Skopje [Macedonia], Oct 01 (ANI): Fewer voters turned up to cast their vote in the referendum held in Macedonia on Sunday to change its name to North Macedonia and thereby paving the way for the European Union and NATO membership.
Even though the government had encouraged massive participation of people, the turned out was very low, reported ABC News.
Election officials reported that as of 6:30 p.m., half an hour before polls closed, the turnout stood at 34 percent, based on data from 85 percent of polling stations. The referendum result will be valid if turnout of eligible voters is over 50 percent.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced the polling a "success for democracy and for a European Macedonia."
Aiming at the Opposition that boycotted the voting, Zaev said that the former should respect the results and in case of any friction, he will call for elections.
Since 1991, Skopje and Athens had been at the loggerheads over the former Yugoslav republic's name, arguing that the name Macedonia opened way for territorial claims in northern Greece where there is a province of the same name. Greece had also blocked Macedonia from joining the EU and NATO.
However, in June, both the countries reached a negotiation and signed an agreement in which Macedonia agreed to change its name to Northern Macedonia while Greece assured to end its veto on former's accession to NATO and the EU. (ANI)