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FYROM name referendum: The Albanian minority key vote

The picture of the absolute division inside FYROM is drawn by the first poll in view of the extremely critical referendum regarding the Prespa Agreement on the change of the name country’s constitutional name.

The poll was conducted last week by MRCETE Vision for mdk.mk and it was conducted by phone on a sample of 1200 people.

Those who reject the agreement are leading with 54,1% against 45,9% who support the agreement signed by FYROM’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras.

What is interesting though, is that FYROM’s large Albanian minority supports the agreement with an extraordinary 94,7% as opposed to the Slavic majority who seem to be almost totally against it with 74,5%.

As to whether they will participate in the referendum, 47.8% of the total of the people asked answered that they will participate, 27,5% seem to opt for abstinence and 24% have not decided yet.

The Slavic majority are divided on whether to participate in the referendum, as 41,9% of them answered they would go to vote, 35,8% will boycott the procedure and 22,2% are undecided. But 61% of the Albanians of FYROM on the other hand, say they will participate and 31,8% say they will boycott the referendum.

These two factors, the 94,7% of Albanians being in favor of the Prespes agreement and the fact that the Slavic majority -unlike the Albanian minority- seems reluctant to go and vote, will play a critical role to the final outcome of the referendum. The reason is that the 54,1% of the total of the sample may be against the agreement, but that percentage includes those members of the Slavic majority who will boycott the referendum. Hence, the almost unanimous Albanian vote in favour of FYROM’s name change may tip the balance towards “yes”.

In other words, the Albanian minority will at the end be the ones that will decide what will happen with the agreement Zaev and Tsipras signed.