FYROM: What will weigh in – the vote “for” or the census?!

FYROM: What will weigh in – the vote “for” or the census?!

What will happen if on September 30th, for example, 890 thousand citizens come out to vote and 800 thousand of them vote “for”? Is that respectable support for the name-and EU membership and NATO membership could go to the wind just because the least 903 thousand voters did not come out in the referendum? Recent public opinion surveys regarding the voters’ willingness to participate in the upcoming referendum indicate a high likelihood of the referendum to accrue results close to these – at the very limit of the constitutionally envisaged census of over 50 percent turnout, but with a clearly expressed affirmation of the referendum issue.

Theoretically, a different situation is possible – for example, 904 thousand voters to go to the polls (just over the required figure of over 903 thousand) and about 500 thousand of them to vote “for”. In such a case, the referendum would be valid according to both parameters (the census and the majority vote “for”), although the answer “yes” would be for even hundreds of thousands less than the assumed support of 800 thousand, but with a smaller turnout.

Such controversy over possible referendum results imply dilemmas about the outcome of the vote that can provide the utmost relevance of the agreement with Greece as a guarantee of the Euro-Atlantic perspectives of the state. That is, whether the census must be a decisive parameter for the success of the vote and in a situation where the voter list is not yet fully cleared, so that the large number of citizens who have moved out in the past years and which are unlikely to influence to be present in the country on September 30th. Therefore, the achievement of the census is still uncertain, while it is much more certain that the votes “for” will be much more than the votes “against”.

The latest public opinion polls, part of which are publicly published and partly made for the needs of political entities, according to the information, indicate that it is realistic that the turnout for the referendum is solid and approximate to the required over 50 percent turnout. The mood for participation in the referendum has seen oscillations in the past period. However, the expectations are that the number of voters interested in voting will increase, among other things because of the campaign warming up and the diplomatic offensive that has been taking place in the country in recent days.

In the latest MCIC survey, 57,8 percent of respondents said they would vote in the referendum, and 28,8 said they would not participate. Of those who said they would vote, 70,8 said they would declare “for”, and 14,8 “against”. According to MCIC estimates, compared to the previous August survey, there was a drop in the possible turnout (from 66,6 percent to 57,8 percent or a decrease of 8,8 percentage points). On the other hand, there is an increase in the number of respondents who are already determined not to go to the polls on September 30 (from 19,8 to 28,8 percent or a difference of nine percentage points).

MCIC’s point out that the referendum census is uncertain, even though this poll indicates the possibility that it will be significantly overcome since 57,8 percent of the respondents said they would go to the polls. According to the MCIC estimates based on the results of the last poll, at this moment, it is possible to exit about 46 percent, which would amount to about 830 thousand voters.

– The poll results outweigh the assessment of exit since the Voter List is significantly wider than the population on which the survey is based. It is realistic to expect that the corrected turnout projection of 46 percent ranges between 43 and 49 percent taking into account the margins of a statistical error of plus or minus three percent. Hence, turnout is getting closer to the required census, but it is uncertain whether it will be achieved by taking into account the active campaign calling for a boycott – MCIC analyses.

They therefore conclude that the “for” camp is larger than those who declare themselves “against” and those who will not actively vote, or will boycott. However, they warn that politically uninterested citizens will be added to those who will boycott, and those who for other reasons will be prevented from voting in the referendum.

The fact that the referendum is consultative, ie it has no binding character, is regarded as a mitigating circumstance in the event of a solid turnout on September 30th, which would not, however, mean achieving the envisaged census. In such a case, if there is a respectable number of votes “for”, it is expected that the implementation of the agreement with Greece will continue. In the event that hundreds of citizens circle “for” and it is much higher than the “against” vote, the opposition or at least part of its deputies expect flexibility and constructiveness in securing the required two-thirds majority for constitutional changes, regardless of whether the turnout will be over 50 percent. Although VMRO-DPMNE still has no defined and unified position regarding the (non) participation in the referendum, the party leadership nnounced that it’s the voters’ will on September 30th what will be binding for them.

Alexandra M. Mitevska