Friday, 21 September 2018 | News today: 12

Zaev: If majority of people vote against name agreement, then it will not be valid (VIDEO)

I believe that our people will take a wise decision. I am a politician serving the citizens. I made a deal, it was not easy, many negotiated before me and would have reached an agreement if it had been easy. Now citizens have the chance to go out in a referendum. I am sure an enormous majority will support these perspectives at Macedonia’s reach, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told Kanal 5 TV station on Tuesday.

“As never before, citizens know the facts in order to decide. The referendum result will be mandatory, irrelevant of it being a binding or consultative one. This means that if the majority of citizens vote ‘for’, then the agreement is valid, but if the majority votes ‘against’, then the agreement’s ratification or the agreed name is not valid,” explains PM Zaev.

According to him, the referendum is the peak of democracy, where citizens decide over the country’s direction.

“SDSM was against a name referendum in the past, now we are in favor of it, VMRO-DPMNE has always wanted a referendum. I hope the opposition will find the strength for this and that President Gjorge Ivanov will not obstruct the processes to follow. A way should be found of not cancelling the Parliament’s decision by using a ‘pocket veto’ as was the case with the law on languages,” says Zaev.

He adds that the criticism of opposition parties in Macedonia and Greece shows that both sides have won and lost something.

The PM says this is not the first time that Macedonia has accepted the erga omnes aspect.

“(Former PM) Nikola Gruevski accepted a name for all uses Upper and North Macedonia back in 2012 and 2013, but Greece did not accept this because it was provoked by the Skopje 2014 project and the renaming of the airport and highway,” stresses Zaev.

He says that the agreement is an enormous benefit for Macedonia, which is finally a country recognized by the entire world, a country of the Macedonian people speaking the Macedonian language.

“The times when our language is referred to as the language of your country, the people as the people of your country, while the country as FYROM come to an end,” says Zaev.

He notes that citizens can now be hopeful in their own country, securing the future of their children and generations to come.

“I believe in this agreement, I know it is not easy, it hurts the soul because of the constitutional revision. But at the end of the day, it is a fact that the we are in the north of the geographic region of Macedonia. Greece has recognized the people and the language – Macedonian, Macedonian language. We finally get what our ancestors aspired for – an independent country recognized by all,” says Zaev.

He adds that the constitutional revision had to materialize.

“This was the only way that Greece could accept the agreement, thus finally building friendship with our neighbor. There is no NATO or EU if this problem is not solved. I urge citizens to carefully read the agreement and see that we have a just and smart solution,” says Zaev.

Regarding the protests in front of the Parliament building, he once again condemns the violence.

“Violence is not the solution. The right for free expression of a stance during a protest is a democratic right. The police reaction was justified and cautious,” adds Zaev.

Asked if early elections would be held in parallel with the referendum, the PM says the polls are in their favor, while early elections are not good for the economy.

“Frequent elections damage the economy. It is good to have a full term, because businessmen can then plan and invest,” underlines Zaev.