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Macedonian Referendum Aims to Solve Name Dispute

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Macedonian Referendum Aims to Solve Name Dispute


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The Macedonian naming dispute has been caught in both Greek and Macedonian politics for the last 27 years. After the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Greece rejected the new Slavic state’s name as “Macedonia,” citing historical appropriation of Greek symbolism and unjust irredentism over Greece’s region of the same name. Regional icons like Alexander the Great have their nationality conflicted between the states, with one citing Greek origin while the other believes he was Macedonian. The long-lasting dispute has prevented Macedonian succession into both NATO and the European Union.

However, this conflict may finally be resolved soon. In fact, it might be sooner than we originally thought. In June 2018, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev engaged in a key meeting, where they suggested renaming the former Yugoslav state to the “Republic of Northern Macedonia,” respecting both Greek & Macedonian territorial integrity.

The issue moved to a referendum on September 30th, where over 94% of the voters agreed with the measure. However, a historically low turnout (36%) prompted the results to be invalidated. Macedonia’s Prime Minister has vowed to continue the effort, pending parliamentary approval. It’s finally time for this 27-year dispute to be resolved, and it’s gaining international support for peace. Long lasting conflict doesn’t need war to resolve itself. Perhaps other areas of international conflict can look at this example for help. 

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Macedonian Referendum Aims to Solve Name Dispute