The German press roundly concluded that despite external efforts to support a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum on the Greece-FYROM Prespa Agreement, the result was an abject fail which puts PM Zoran Zaev’s future course in question.
Suddeutsche Zeiting saw the causes of the failure as domestic. The paper said that FYROM’s citizens “were called to the polls to say a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but the majority remained silent, the referendum failed, and the Balkan country’s promising start toward the West is ending in a ditch for now.”
“The result is a painful defeat for the government of the Social Democrat prime minister, who had the courage to contribute to the agreement with Greece on the name issue, but also for the extreme conservative opposition – which maligned the agreement as capitulation and worked for it to fail – it is a Pyrrhic victory. After the obstacles to the country’s progress raised by Greece’s arrogant stance, now the country failed for domestic reasons – internal division, the short-sighted policy of the opposition, and a lack of courage. Now, the country is threatened with isolation over the coming years,” the newspaper opined.
Der Spiegel’s correspondent in Skopje presents the different views of two residents.
Handelsblatt concluded that the invalidity of the referendum may be a relief for PM Alexis Tsipras, as he showed his good will regarding a problem that has festered for 27 years to partners, and because Tsipras will have one less problem. The writer notes that if Tsipras breaks up with his junior coalition partner, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, that will lead to early elections at the beginning of 2019.