The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has called on voters to boycott Sunday's referendum on the name deal with Greece, saying its was “harmful and defeating” to the Balkan nation.
In a statement released by his office a week ahead of the plebiscite, Gjorge Ivanov was quoted as telling a gathering of members of the FYROM diaspora community in the United States that he himself will not be turning out for the September 30 referendum.
“Even with the adoption of the harmful Greek treaty and [relevant] constitutional amendments, membership in NATO and the European Union will not come automatically,” Ivanov reportedly warned.
The call to voters comes in the wake of several high-level statements encouraging citizens of FYROM to back the deal, which will pave the way to the country's accession to the Atlantic alliance and the European bloc.
Ivanov, who is backed by the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party, has been vocally against the agreement forged by the Social Democratic Union government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, since it was signed in June.