Macedonia Name Referendum Talks Blocked by Opposition VMRO-DPMNE

Macedonia Political Talks in Skopje end in Disarray
Macedonia Political Talks in Skopje end in Disarray

Skopje, FYROM | July 25 (Tirana Echo) – Negotiations between Macedonia’s main political groups to agree on a national referendum which would seal the new name deal with Greece, have ended in disaster, as opposition VMRO-DPMNE party refuses to grant agreement.

As the country’s four main political parties met last night in what was seen as a third and last attempt to resolve the deadlock, hopes were high for an agreement after ruling social democrats announced they had met all opposition requests, including a special provision which would guarantee a technical government in place 100 days ahead of any general elections.

However, VMRO DPMNE chairman Hristijan Mickovski did not grant his party’s accord, sending the third round of political talks into disarray.

As part of a deal between Skopje and Athens which would rename the small Balkan country as Northern Macedonia, its citizens are expected to vote on a national referendum to approve the name.

Without opposition participation, pundits warn, it may be difficult to achieve the 50% turnout needed for the referendum to be valid.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev accused the opposition of blocking the talks and lying when they say they want their country to joine NATO and the European Union.

It is unfortunate that Hristijan Mickovski failed to seize the moment. Instead of boarding the train towards the EU and NATO, he chose to stay on the dark side of history,” Zaev said during a public address.

Social Democratic Party LSDM accuse VMRO-DPMNE of blocking the deal because of darker intentions linked to a possible amnesty for their former leader and former prime minister Nikola Gruevski and his close collaborators currently on trial over corruption charges.

Following the historic deal with Greece, Macedonia has got a formal invitation this month to join NATO, pending the referendum’s results and expects to formally open EU membership talks by the end of next year.

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