Supporters of a voter boycott of the referendum in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on changing the country's name to “Republic of North Macedonia” to pave the way for NATO membership are starting to celebrate based on low turnout figures election officials gave before polls closed.
Boycott supporters cheered and chanted "Macedonia" outside Parliament in the capital, Skopje. Turnout was below 29 percent two hours before polls were due to close.
The deal with Greece, signed in June, would end a dispute dating from the early 1990s, when the Balkan country declared independence from Yugoslavia. Greece argued that its small neighbor's name implied territorial ambitions on its own Macedonia province and blocked the country's efforts to join NATO.
But the agreement has faced vocal opposition on both sides of the border, with detractors accusing their respective governments of conceding too much to the other side. [AP]