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FYR Macedonia name referendum fails to reach turnout threshold

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By Euronews
FYR Macedonia name referendum fails to reach turnout threshold
Copyright  REUTERS

A historic referendum on whether the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will change its name to the 'Republic of North Macedonia' has fallen short of the required 50% turnout.

It was hoped that the poll would end a decades-old dispute with Greece, and pave the way for the country to join both NATO and EU.

Results from more than 97% of polling stations showed that 91.3% of voters approve the deal, but only 36% of registered voters turned up, according to the Associated Press.

The FYR Macedonian Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev has pledged to press on with a vote in parliament - despite the low turnout.

“He will ask the parliament to approve the constitutional changes that are included in the deal, which is the next difficult, big step for this government” said Fay Doulgkeri, Euronews correspondent.

An important factor in the referendum was the youth vote, said Doulgkeri.

“We understood that a big majority of young people in this country want to enter the European Union because they think this will mean a better future for them.

“Even people who are opposed to the deal, even people who don't want their country to change their name, yesterday said yes to the referendum just to give their chance to the country to enter the European Union and NATO.”