Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on his Facebook page has revealed the motto under which the government’s campaign to support the referendum and the name dispute with Greece will be led. Under the motto “In the EU ‘FOR'” citizens are required to complete the response that will bring Macedonia into the EU and NATO on September 30.
“The Macedonian language will be official in a Union of 500 million inhabitants. By joining the EU, all official communications between the Republic of Macedonia and the member states of the European Union will be led and translated into Macedonian, both official and recognized in the territory in which half a billion inhabitants reside,” the president of the government wrote. This morning, his team will tell him how much money will support the government’s campaign for the referendum. Namely, at a government session postponed yesterday due to the holiday Kurban Bayram, ministers will provide information on the funds they have allocated from their budget, primarily from representations, lunches and the like, to assist in the agitation of citizens for the turnout of the referendum vote. So far, only the Ministry of Defense has announced that it will give 60 million denars (about one million euros), while other state institutions are still tactful. However, campaign planning is ongoing, the information is collected and today the details of the concept will be defined. It is known that the campaign will be informative in order for the citizens to explain the agreement with Greece and the benefits they would receive with NATO membership, and then in the EU, as well as the planned steps that would take us there. From that aspect, it is expected to change messages similar to that of Zaev for the Macedonian language.
But it remains unclear whether the government will have a political opponent in the referendum race. There is nothing new in VMRO-DPMNE. There are no scheduled sessions of the higher authorities this week, and the official position is that management collects field information consulting with citizens whose homes are visited within the “Working Summer”, with members and with the intellectual elite. According to the announcements, the tactics will last until the beginning of September, when the start of the campaign is scheduled. In the meantime, intra-party rumors are being heard more loudly, announcing that the party will not say “for” or “against” or “boycott”, that is, it will call the voters to decide whether they will visit the polling stations September 30 and the way they would vote. It is only clear to the opposition that the agreement with Greece does not really like it and consider it a calculative one.
That’s why, for the time being, the “Boycott” camp does not waste any time, which has no party sign, but it presents itself as civil. They are constantly active on social networks with daily indications of why the referendum should be boycotted. The main argument yesterday was the news on the US Army’s official YouTube page, where they point out the excellent cooperation and joint exercises with the “North Macedonian soldiers” on Krivolak. The same information was shared by MP Antonio Milososki, who also advocates boycotting the referendum. He is considered to be a “solo player” and is not coordinated with the leadership of the party, with whom he is in a strained relationship after the withdrawal of Nikola Gruevski from the leader’s position.
While the public is concerned about who is allowed to use the money from the campaign budget, confusion has also been made by the broadcasted statements of Janko Bacev, President of the United Macedonia, which is part of the political bloc of 28 non-parliament parties, associations and civic organizations that advocate “boycott”, who allegedly said that an overseas account was opened, which has so far collected $ 4,000 for the “campaign” of the so-called Crisis headquarters of diaspora associations.
“No, I said that our people throughout the world have opened an electronic account where they collect money online. They have collected four thousand dollars. With this money, we will be able to help the campaign that we will launch for boycotting the referendum. We will not have any access to those funds at all, but we will provide invoices for printing leaflets or something like that to our people there. The law says that donations from foreign governments and foreign public institutions are not allowed, but our Macedonian voters are our emigrants, and according to the regulation, a campaign can be launched by anyone who will provide funds to pay for it,” Bacev told Nezavisen/Independent newspaper.
According to the information from the State Election Commission, 1,725 citizens applied for voting at the diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Macedonia abroad by 12 o’clock yesterday. The applications of 1,612 citizens were accepted, 27 were rejected, and the rest were processed. The highest number of applications are for voting in Bern (170), in Ljubljana (137), in London (103), Toronto (98) and Canberra (71), while the lowest number of applications are submitted for voting in Kiev, Podgorica and Pristina (one application) and two in New Delhi, Cairo and Doha.
The voting abroad will be conducted on September 29 at the diplomatic-consular offices and consulates of the Republic of Macedonia in which at least 10 applications for voting were accepted, the Commission said.
Simultaneously to the registration of the expatriates for voting at the referendum up to 23 at midnight, runs the deadline for public inspection in the Voters List. Yesterday, a total of 3,996 citizens checked their data at the SEC in the regional departments and SEC offices. Most of the citizens that checked the Voters list in were from Bitola (411), Strumica (364), Karpos (300), Radovis (217), and 199 in Ohrid and Prilep.