Advertisement

US Hails Outcome Of Macedonia’s Name Change Referendum

Channels Television  
Updated October 1, 2018
Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his son Dushko cast their ballot for a referendum to re-name their country North Macedonia on September 30, 2018. Photo: DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP

 

The United States has welcomed the outcome of a referendum in Macedonia on changing its name, that could bring it economically and militarily closer to the West.

Macedonian voters chose to support a plan to rename the country in a way that will end a decades-long spat with Greece and unlock a path to NATO and EU membership.

With ballots from 93 percent of polling stations counted, 91.3 percent of votes favoured the name changing to North Macedonia, compared to 5.7 percent opposed, according to the electoral commission’s official count.

However, only a third of the 1.8 million-strong electorate voted.

“The United States strongly supports the agreement’s full implementation, which will allow Macedonia to take its rightful place in NATO and the EU, contributing to regional stability, security, and prosperity,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

She urged Macedonian lawmakers “to rise above partisan politics and seize this historic opportunity to secure a brighter future for the country as a full participant in Western institutions”.

Supporters of a boycott for the name-change referendum celebrate in front of the Parliament in Skopje on September 30, 2018, as the vote was marred by a low turnout, with only a third of the electorate voting. Photo: Armend NIMANI / AFP

AFP