What's in a name?
Macedonia's PM Zoran Zaev, his wife Zorica and his son Dushko cast their ballot for the referendum in Macedonia on changing the country's name that would open the way for it to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union in Strumica, Macedonia September 30, 2018. It escalated quickly, with Greece imposing a crippling embargo on the new nation.
In the headquarters of the VMRO DPMNE party, which did not stage a formal campaign for or against the referendum, but which clearly favoured a form of silent boycott, the celebratory mood was evident on Sunday evening.
In response, prominent Western figures, including the United States secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, visited Macedonia to try to persuade voters to back the name change. Opinion polls nonetheless have indicated a likely win for the "yes" vote.
Russia's keen interest in the vote is hardly surprising. He said that he expected the majority of voters were in favor of changing Macedonia's name, and that he would speak again later in the evening, once the vote was counted.
In recent years, Macedonian textbooks were rewritten to draw a link between present day Macedonians, who are ethnic Slavs, and the ancient Kingdom of Macedon which was led by Alexander the Great.
Efforts to change the name of the Balkan state now enters crisis mode as voters failed to turn out in a blow for Western leaders who campaigned for a "yes" vote..
Besides claiming the title as part of its heritage and identity, Greece fears Skopje could harbour territorial ambitions over its region of Macedonia just across the border.
Some feel that it is embarrassing to have to change the name at the request of another country.
Justice Department sues California over law protecting net neutrality
California's new net neutrality law prohibits slowing down or blocking access to content and a ban on zero rating. The Justice Department is seeking to block it.
"If the deal is damaging for Greece, how can it also be damaging for FYROM and for the opposite to apply?" he said.
Let us note that the Greeks are not satisfied with the name the Republic of Macedonia since it corresponds to the name of Greek region Macedonia.
The question on the referendum ballot read: "Are you for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union membership with acceptance of the agreement with Greece". In July, a group of rowdy soccer fans said they had been paid to stir up violence at protests against the deal.
Officials in Zaev's government have said they have 71 parliamentary deputies ready to approve a constitutional amendment accepting the name change, short of the two-thirds majority, or 80 votes in parliament, needed to amend the constitution. The deal met with vociferous opposition in both countries, from those who accused the prime ministers of conceding too much. The critics included President Gjorge Ivanov, who called the agreement with Greece a "flagrant violation of sovereignty".
The historic referendum, even if it had passed the necessary threshold, was consultative and not legally binding. The Macedonian Constitution requires a minimum turnout of 50 per cent of eligible voters for a binding referendum.
"If they (NATO and EU) don't want to take us as Macedonia, we can turn to others like China and Russian Federation and become part of Euro-Asia integration".
"I think it would be very hard for the prime minister to reach the deal with the opposition lawmakers over the constitutional changes and to continue with the next phase", Political analyst Petar Arsovski said.
If the deal is backed in the referendum and ratified by two-thirds of MPs, the Greek parliament will be called on to give it the final stamp of approval.
Once Macedonia's Parliament has voted, the ball is in Greece's court. Zaev has been at the forefront of negotiations with Greece's prime minister, Alexis Tsipras. His governing coalition partner, right-wing Independent Greeks head Panos Kammenos, has vowed to vote against the deal in parliament, leaving Tsipras reliant on opposition parties and independent lawmakers to push it through.