The Macedonian Parliament distributed 900.000 EUR during the failed referendum campaign, and all of them went to support the “Yes” vote to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia and to join NATO and the European Union.
There was no organized campaign to oppose the name change, so the full sum of 1.3 million EUR which was earmarked was not spent. The majority of parties in Parliament supported the “Yes” vote, and VMRO-DPMNE, which opposed the name change but was pressured not to campaign, did not distribute the additional 400.000 EUR it could’ve diverted for a “No” campaign, BIRN reports.
Most of the funds (82 percent) were diverted toward the national TV stations. Sitel TV collected 140.000 EUR from the campaign war chest, followed by Telma with 107.000 and Alsat – M and Kanal 5 with 105.000 each.
Despite the one-sided campaign, enhanced by visits from Angela Merkel, Federica Mogherini and James Mattis, the referendum failed as only 36 percent of the total number of voters turned out. A self-organized quiet boycott campaign spread through the social media carried the day.