September 30, 2018 / 7:38 PM / 8 months ago

Turnout in Macedonia's name referendum unlikely to reach 50 percent threshold

Protesters shout out slogans about boycott referendum on changing the country's name that would open the way for it to join NATO and the European Union in Skopje, Macedonia September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Turnout in Macedonia’s referendum on whether to change the country’s name to resolve a dispute with Greece will be below the 50 percent threshold needed to make the vote valid, a ruling party official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Macedonia’s pro-Western government has urged the public to back the name change to Republic of North Macedonia, to resolve a decades-old dispute with Greece which had blocked Macedonia’s membership bids for the European Union and NATO. Opponents of the change had called for a boycott of the vote.

“It is clear now that it (turnout) is unlikely to reach the threshold of 50 pct,” the official told Reuters. The State Election Commision said turnout as of 6.30 pm was 34 percent.

Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Peter Graff

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