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Macedonia’s name change referendum declared void

According to the election commission, the final turnout stood at 36.91%

SKOPJE, October 1. /TASS/. The referendum on signing an intergovernmental treaty with Greece to rename the Republic of Macedonia held in the Balkan country on September 30 has been declared void, Chairman of the State Election Commission Oliver Derkoski told reporters at a news conference on Monday after 100% of ballots had been counted.

"According to the voting results at the 2018 referendum, the decision has not been made, since half of the total number of voters on the electoral register failed to cast their ballots," he said.

According to the election commission, the final turnout stood at 36.91%. As many as 91.46% of the total number of voters (more than 609,000 people) cast their ballos in favor of an intergovernmental treaty with Greece on changing the Balkan nation’s name to North Macedonia, while 5.65% voted against.

The voters were asked to answer the following question: "Are you in favor of European Union and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece?" Voting took place in more than 3,000 polling stations in 80 municipalities and the city of Skopje.

The referendum was meant to put an end to the 27-year-long dispute between Macedonia and Greece over the name of the former Yugoslav republic, which coincides with the name of the northern Greek region.

Athens argued that its neighboring country’s name should be changed and opposed its accession to the European Union and NATO. On June 17, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov signed an agreement stating that the former Yugoslav republic would change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. This treaty was due to resolve the decades-long dispute on the country’s name and pave the way for its NATO and EU membership.