Macedonians vote in election dominated by splits over name change

Macedonians vote in election dominated by splits over name change
  • Clock-gray 07:30
  • calendar-gray 21 April 2019

Macedonians vote on Sunday in a presidential election dominated by deep divisions over the change of the country’s name to North Macedonia under a deal with Greece, ONAreports quoting Reuters.

The name change, which Greece demanded to end what it called an implied territorial claim on its northern province also called Macedonia, resolves a decades-old dispute and opens the door to Macedonian membership of NATO and the European Union.

But the accord continues to divide Macedonians and has eclipsed all other issues during campaigning for Sunday’s election, in which about 1.8 million voters will choose between three candidates.

Reflecting differences over the agreement pushed through by the pro-Western government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the winner of Sunday’s ballot is not expected to secure an outright majority, meaning a run-off vote would be held on May 5.

A recent opinion poll gave support of 28.8 percent and a narrow lead to Stevo Pendarovski, who is backed by the ruling centrist coalition of the Social Democrats and the minority Albanian DUI party, which have promised to implement the name change settlement.

Faiq Mahmudov

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