Will Zaev find a way around the referendum?

Will Zaev find a way around the referendum?
The referendum as the final phase of the settlement of the name dispute persists as a constant on the Macedonian political scene for a long period of time. Simultaneously promoted by VMRO-DPMNE, then accepted by SDSM, it was almost always in the plans for the name solution. The goal is very simple - the people, not the politicians, to have the last say about the country’s most important issue. And when I say people I think of everyone who live in Macedonia, but above all to the Macedonians. Because the dispute with Greece is directed towards the Macedonians, their existence as a separate people with their own language, culture, tradition, heritage and everything that one nation defines as separate and different from other nations. Certainly, because of this dispute, our fate is shared by others who live in Macedonia, such as Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks and others, and they must be acknowledged that they have always adhered to this dispute without insulting the feelings of the Macedonians.

We have an agreement before us, signed by Zoran Zaev and Nikola Dimitrov, which in my opinion is the worst agreement that Macedonia could ever get. I even think that these two would have gotten a better deal if they just asked the Greeks to come up with an agreement and hand it over for signing, without any negotiations. What’s on the edge of disbelief is the consent of the authorities in Macedonia to deny the Macedonian, to change the constitution, to define the language and the nation as artificial creations, limited only to the territory of today's Republic of Macedonia, to agree that there are no Macedonians or Macedonian language in Greece, to agree to change all school textbooks in the same direction, to change the codes of Macedonia and many other harmful parts that I invite those who are reading this to read the agreement and see for themselves.

Certainly this part of the process should be the referendum as a promise from Zoran Zaev. But to be honest, Zaev did nothing to create conditions for a successful referendum. Probably aware that he agrees to a very bad deal that will never be accepted by the people, knowingly manipulating the name agreement when in Article 1, point 11, the possibility of a referendum leaves it only as an option, if so decided by the "second party", as embarrassingly is called Macedonia in the deal. So it is not an obligation to organize a referendum, just an option.

That brings us to the conclusion that Zaev has at least three options go around the referendum. The first is to not organize a referendum in general. The second is to organize the so-called consultative referendum which it does not require a 50 percent census plus one to go out and vote, but is considered successful if half of those who went out to vote voted ‘in favor’. The third is to go with a so-called mandatory referendum, which does not require a 50 percent census plus one that went out to vote, but it will still enable Zaev to say that he would respect the will of those who went out to vote.

I am aware that this sounds a bit heretical and beyond the basic narrative that we have in the media, but if you combine the three factors - an extremely bad agreement with Greece to rename Macedonia and Macedonians, the content of the agreement, in particular, Article 1, item 11, and if you closely follow Zaev's statements and read between the lines, then it is very likely that there will be no referendum at all or there will be one, but will be brutally manipulated and the will of the voters will be ignored.

This only confirms Zoran Zaev's low level of democratic capacity and his understanding of politics and the people as a dough that can be shaped and manipulated as they like. I think that this nation is seriously underestimated and lied to! The people are aware of this, and therefore the answer is already so strong and fierce, and it will become stronger and fiercer.

I also want to destroy the illusions of anyone who thinks that VMRO-DPMNE can be an accomplice in such a dirty scenario for evading the will of the people. We will not reveal our strategies and tactics prematurely, but I can say that they will be a serious and organized response and an opposition to manipulations with the ultimate goal of preserving the name of the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian people.

We are in for an interesting summer…

Aleksandar Nikoloski

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