Since 2008, VMRO-DPMNE considers the majority of the turnout as the indicator of referendum’s success

Photo: vlada.mk

Macedonia’s Foreign Minister, Nikola Dimitrov, posted several concrete stances about the referendum on Facebook, which we deem true.

On 3 October 2018, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Dimitrov, posted “Facts on the referendum” on his Facebook profile, stressing several points about the referendum, among which are the following:

Is it a fact that page 295 of DPMNE’s program reads that the referendum will be a success if backed by the majority of citizens who will CAST THEIR VOTE, not the majority of citizens in the electoral roll? Yes. Here’s a quote:

“VMRO-DPMNE, as responsible and people’s party, shall not allow individual politicians, Government or Parliament to accept any solution of the dispute imposed by Greece without previous referendum expression of the citizens in a referendum wherein the majority of citizens that will cast their vote agree with the possible solution.”

Is it a fact that the referendum was consultative, that is, not compulsory? Yes.

Is it a fact that the issue of consulting the citizens in referendum on the name dispute was introduced by the current opposition, that is currently abstaining? Yes.

[Source: Minister Nikola Dimitrov’s Facebook profile; Time.mk, date: 3 October 2018]

 

EXPLANATION:

Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov posted several concrete stances on Facebook about the referendum, which we deem true.

In his Facebook status, Dimitrov points out that page 295 of VMRO-DPMNE’s program reads: “the referendum will be a success if backed by the majority of citizens who will CAST THEIR VOTE, not the majority of citizens in the electoral roll”. He proves this with the following quote:


VMRO-DPMNE, as a responsible and people’s party, shall not allow individual politicians, Government or Parliament to accept any solution of the dispute imposed by Greece without previous referendum expression of the citizens wherein the majority of citizens that will cast their vote agree with the possible solution.

We went through VMRO-DPMNE’s program for the 2016 general elections, Realistically, whose chapter “Foreign affairs and European integrations” consists a separate paragraph titled “Political dispute imposed by Greece to our constitutional name Republic of Macedonia” (page 295) that contains the quote above.

However, this paragraph firmly states that:

VMRO-DPMNE shall not accept amendment to the Constitution that would change the constitutional name Republic of Macedonia.

Opposing this firm position is the following: “shall not allow individual politicians, Government or Parliament to accept any solution of the dispute imposed by Greece without previous expression of the citizens in a referendum…” which is kind of contradictory. First, the Constitution shall not be amended in terms of changing the constitutional name, meaning the name won’t be changed at all, but then it says that any solution to the name issue first has to be accepted by the majority of citizens that will cast their vote in a referendum announced for that particular purpose. All of this is rather baffling, it’s unclear whether the party accepts change of the constitutional name or not.

As Dimitrov puts it, it’s true that the issue of consulting the citizens in a referendum has been promoted by the current opposition. VMRO-DPMNE introduced the referendum as a step for the first time in 2008. The election program Renaissance in 100 steps, upgraded and unabridged, section “Foreign policy priorities 2002 – 2012” (page 146) says that “the majority of citizens that will cast their vote in that referendum” will have to agree with the possible solution.

The 2008 program has a paragraph pretty much identical to the one in the 2016 program “Realistically”:

VMRO-DPMNE, as responsible and people’s party, shall not allow individual politicians, government or the parliament to accept any solution of or compromise about the dispute imposed by Greece without previous referendum expression of the citizens wherein the majority of citizens that will cast their vote agree on that solution.

It wasn’t until 2011, before the snap general elections, when the referendum on the name became a part of SDSM’s political rhetoric.

In addition, it’s correct that the referendum was announced as consultative, and the Decision on holding it was made by the Parliament on 20 July 2018.

The Decision on announcing the referendum

Therefore, in view of all of the aforementioned, we deem Minister Dimitrov’s stances true.

 

SOURCES:

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.