21 June 2021
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The Sunday referendum in FYROM on the agreement with Greece has failed to meet the required turnout of above 50% of electorate for it to be valid. The turnout was 37% and of those, 91% voted in favour of the name change. Regardless, both sides – those against and for the name to be changed to the Republic of North Macedonia – claimed victory. Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced after the polls closed the vote was a win for European Macedonia, insisting the majority of the “yes” vote amongst those who voted would give him legitimacy to push for a constitutional name change in the parliament. 

Parliament can only pass major constitutional changes with the support of at least two-third majority, which means at least 80 out of 120 MPs. The “yes” camp currently holds 71 seats which means they will need votes from the opposition ranks. Zaev said that if the parliament fails to agree on the name change, his party will call an early general election. Zaev has the backing from the western allies, who hailed the referendum result as a clear sign that Macedonians are in favour of the Prespa deal.

“I would like to congratulate the citizens of the country for voting in favour of the deal. I call on all leaders to seize this historic opportunity. NATO’s doors are open, but the necessary criteria should be delivered”

 – Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General

Johannes Hahn, EU Enlargement Commissioner, voiced similar support, adding that he expects “all political leaders to respect this decision and stand united”. Macedonia’s opposition, who opted to boycott the vote, claimed that referendum failed. Showing the majority of citizens are against the Prespa agreement.

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Black Sea resort of Sochi during the Formula 1 race that was hed there this weekend. The Russian leader wished the Bosnian Serb success in the forthcoming elections, according to Republika Srpska (RS) entity’s television RTRS. Dodik, known for his strong pro-Russian views, is running for a seat for Serb member of BiH’s tripartite presidency in the coming Sunday’s elections. Bosnian media reports that Putin prasied Russia’s relations with RS, saying that about 75% of RS’s total foreign trade was now with Russia. Dodik emphasised the importance of Russian support for the Serb people in Bosnia. “It would be catastrophic for our people to lose Russia’s attention in terms of assistance and support,” Dodik told RTRS. Bosnia’s Oslobodjenje daily points out the meeting could have a significant impact on Republika Srpska’s electorate which is considerably pro-Russian. Dodik’s main contender is Mladen Ivanić, the current Serb member of BiH’s presidency.

Adriatic Journal


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