IBNA Special report/Following the fresh round of talks on the name in New York, a debate has been triggered on this issue. Current president says that there’s no solution without a referendum. The opposition candidate explains why there’s no need for the citizens to be called. Gruevski backs Ivanov’s electoral card. Citizens say that politics are not being focused on the problems of the people
Skopje, April 1, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
The unresolved issue of the name dispute with Greece has dominated this week the electoral campaign of the April 13 presidential elections in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The debate over this issue and declarations comes from the two main Macedonian parties and the main rivals of the presidential race, George Ivanov from VMRO-DPMNE and Stevo Pendarovski from the Macedonian opposition led by the Social Democratic League (LDSM).
Ivanov and his party have made it quite clear that people’s referendum is the final phase of the solution of the name dispute.
Meanwhile, Pendarovski demands unity and domestic state and political consensus.
Prime minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski has challenged the presidential nominee of the Macedonian opposition, by demanding him to declare what his positioning is on the name dispute.
Pendarovski and Ivanov’s positioning
The candidate of the Macedonian opposition, Stevo Pendarovski reacted following the “invitation” launched by Gruevski talking about his positioning on the name dispute.
“Of course that I will not be able to resolve the name dispute with Greece alone. This can only be done through consensus between the main political parties, because no referendum can approve a solution which requires 900 thousand votes. Without a political unity, this is impossible”, said the presidential candidate of LSDM, Stevo Pendarovski.
He says that in case the citizens will vote him, he will be engaged for an internal unity between the citizens and political spectrum.
But this problem is being used as an electoral card by the VMRO-DPMNE candidate, George Ivanov to express nationalist tones. From Strumica last night, which is a stronghold of the Macedonian opposition, he said that “the Macedonian people will not become ‘ugly’ by changing the name”.
“We will not allow our nation to become ‘ugly’ through the name change. The Macedonian people must decide for itself. Nobody else has the right to decide on behalf of the state”, declared Ivanov, mentioning the issue of the referendum.
Prime minister Nikola Gruevski too says that the referendum will enable the voice of the citizens to be heard and will solve the issue of the name dispute.
This issue has caused heated debates between the two Macedonian political camps, especially in the second week of the presidential campaign, following a fresh round of talks held in New York on the name dispute issue with the intermediacy of the UNO diplomat, Matthew Nimetz.
Citizens are less focused on the name dispute issue
Many citizens say that they’re not interested on the name dispute issue. According to them, this is only a political card which is being exploited by parties in the campaign.
“We’re interested for our daily problems to be resolved. We’ve had enough of the name issue which is constantly used during the elections. Everything is a waste of time. We’re interested on wellbeing, work and economic development”, says Natasa I, a civil servant in Skopje, speaking to IBNA.
Ylber D, a teacher told IBNA that with this debate on the name issue, political parties are veering the attention from the main social and economic problems that the country has, but also from the cross ethnic problems.
“We need work. We need to escape the economic crisis which is becoming deeper and deeper. We’re seeing that the government is increasing debt. We want to see how our perspective will be. We want real solution to the problems in the country. It’s necessary to have a cross ethnic harmony and then we can resolve the name issue”, says the teacher from Skopje.
Latest polls in the country show that citizens are more preoccupied with the social economic problems than the name issue or relations with neighboring countries. /ibna/