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    People walk across a street in front of the Parliament building in Macedonia’s capital Skopje, Thursday, April 7, 2016

    Macedonian People Protested Decision Imposed From Outside at Referendum – Envoy

    © AP Photo / Boris Grdanoski
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    SKOPJE (Sputnik) - Macedonian citizens have expressed their lack of support for a decision imposed from the outside by turning out in low numbers for the consultative referendum to change the country's name to the Republic of North Macedonia, Russian Ambassador to Macedonia Sergei Bazdnikin told Sputnik.

    "It is absolutely clear now that Macedonian voters have, so to say, voted with their feet against the decision imposed from the outside. It is obvious that the overwhelming majority, almost two-thirds of citizens do not think that the Prespa Agreement between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia is the best tool to overcome differences around the official name of the Republic of Macedonia," Bazdnikin said.

    EU and US representatives visited Skopje ahead of Macedonia's consultative referendum to change the country's name to the Republic of North Macedonia and attempted to interfere in the country's internal affairs by urging Macedonian citizens to back the move, the Russian Ambassador to Macedonia stated.

    "We did not make any public statements in connection with the referendum so that it would not look like an attempt to influence its results. Meanwhile, our Western colleagues chose a completely opposite approach, and it is clear that they have attempted to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state," the diplomat said.

    READ MORE: Macedonian Opposition Claims Victory in Name Change Vote Citing Low Turnout

    According to Bazdnikin, in September, a large number of high-ranking government officials arrived in the country, "officials from Washington and Brussels, who visited Skopje and very openly, diligently urged Macedonian citizens to support [the change of the country's name] in this referendum."

    On Sunday, the referendum on the deal to change the name to the Republic of North Macedonia was held.

    According to the State Election Commission, 91.46 percent of voters supported renaming the country under the deal with Greece, while 5.65 percent voted against.

    The referendum, however, failed to secure the necessary 50-percent turnout in order to make the vote valid. Voter turnout was only 36.91 percent.



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    renaming, referendum, European Union, Macedonia
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