Prime Minister and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev cast his referendum ballot at polling station No. 1730 in the “Nikola Vapcarov” Elementary School in Strumica. He was accompanied by wife Zorica and son Dushko.
Immediately after voting, PM Zaev likened the day to a holiday for Macedonia. He said citizens were deciding the country’s fate, and their vote—as in all such pivotal moments for the Republic of Macedonia—was a serious decision that would determine the country’s future course for generations to come.
“Today is a true holiday,” Zaev said. “I expect a great turnout of voters, which will confirm yet again both the multiethnic unity of our citizens and our overall political unity, putting aside all party divisions.
“I expect Parliament to uphold what the majority of citizens decide, which will set a clear course our country should take.
“Following this decision, I expect for Macedonia to finally achieve its strategic goals of becoming a member of the world’s most powerful military alliance, NATO, and of the world’s strongest economic union, the EU.”
Asked by a reporter about Bulgaria’s help in the referendum, PM Zaev said the friendly support from our neighbors, starting with Bulgaria, has encouraged the whole region to follow suit.
“This encouraged the Greek side, as well,” Zaev said. “Macedonia has now made two historic agreements: first, the Friendship Treaty with Bulgaria, and second, the Agreement with Greece that finally resolved the 25-year name dispute. It will leave a lasting mark on the region about how friendship is built, how European values are cherished, how European manners and relations are developed. All this, I believe, will positively influence generations to come.”
Asked about how many votes he thought would be in favor of the referendum question, PM Zaev said he expected a great majority.
“I believe,” Zaev said, “that a great, great majority of citizens will be in favor of, considering that more than 80 percent of our citizens are in favor of EU and NATO.
“I believe that this enormous majority, as in all democratic societies, will precisely point the way for citizens, us politicians, and Parliament to abide by the wishes of the people, which finally would be ratified by Parliament, where we shape our future.”
PM Zaev said he was joined by his son Dushko at the polling station because he wanted to choose the country’s future together with him.
“He came with me to participate and see how we, parents, make brave and serious decisions to determine our children’s future and that of generations to come.
“I’m very happy that my son joined me—as a parent, above all, but also as a citizen of this country of ours that we love—in this historic opportunity to give our children a better future,” PM Zaev said after casting his vote in his native Strumica.