President Ivanov: I will not go out and vote on September 30
Sunday, 23 September 2018 08:02   

4_galaLadies and Gentlemen
Dear friends
Brothers and Sisters

Thank you for this prestigious recognition. I wish to thank the United Macedonian Diaspora for this magnificent gala dinner. I am truly proud to see you all here, united – united in your love for Macedonia. We have successfully survived all the challenges that our homeland has been through in the past. I do believe that together, we will overcome our current challenge.

As President, I have always been an advocate for reaching the strategic goals of the Republic of Macedonia. Membership in NATO and the European Union is our interest and our uniting strategic aim that we will persist on achieving.
However, there was a block o that path. We were denied the right to call us by our name. With that, we were imposed an irrational dispute lasting for almost three decades.

I have always been for a solution that will not touch upon the identity of the Macedonian people and will not be detrimental for Macedonian national interests; a solution that would not involve a change of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia in view of changing the constitutional name. At the same time, I believe that the solution should be based on a broad national consensus without destroying the state positions held thus far. Such solution should be confirmed by the citizens at a referendum.

Today, the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia are offered a solution on a referendum – a solution which goes against all state positions taken so far. It was not a result of a national consensus and was made without my knowledge or consent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Everyone is wondering what will happen if the Prespa Final Settlement is not accepted. However, it is much more important to wonder about the consequences of accepting this Settlement.

I believe that the settlement if detrimental and fatal for the Republic of Macedonia. Accepting this settlement will have far-reaching consequences for the Macedonian state and the Macedonian people. This Greek settlement does not strengthen Macedonian identity, but it legally abolishes Macedonian people. It does not confirm, but change Macedonian state and institutional identity. It does not promote, but degrades our acquired rights.

Article 3 of the Settlement says that "each of the Parties obliges to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the other Party."
And yet, the very content of the Settlement denies the sovereignty and political independence of the Republic of Macedonia since it allows interference in its internal affairs. According to the settlement, the last word will be given to the Greek, and not Macedonian Members of Parliament. With this settlement, the Republic of Macedonia is brought to a subordinate and dependent position vis-à-vis the Hellenic Republic.

Greek membership in the EU and NATO has created an imbalance of power and conditions for Macedonia imposed by Greece. With this asymmetric settlement, the truth of the predominant party will become the predominant truth.
There will no longer be a Macedonian National Theater, Macedonian Radio Television, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and not even a Macedonian Orthodox Church.

2_galaSuch an agreement does not unite Macedonian citizens – on the contrary, it adds to the polarization of Macedonian society. This agreement annuls the "social agreement' that we achieved when we declared our country independent and sovereign.

For almost three decades, Greece has been claiming that the Republic of Macedonia is an artificial creation. However, the truth is that the only artificial creation is in this agreement, and is not an expression of the will of Macedonian people and Macedonian citizens. This settlement creates a new entity, a new non-national state.

In simple terms, the consequences of this settlement can be summarized in one sentence. The same thing that the Greek state did to the Macedonians in Greece, it now wants to do to the Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia – to make them nameless, faceless and speechless.

I do not wish to be misinterpreted. I am all for partnership and friendship between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece, between Macedonian and Greek societies. However, in order to be sustainable, this partnership needs to be built on solid bases.

If the only way to satisfy the irrational demands of the Greek side is through imposed measures to the Macedonian side, then the result is relations without trust. This agreement does not bring Macedonian and Greek people together, it only sets them apart.

Both Greek and Macedonian society should learn how to live together in spite of the deepest differences that drive them apart. In order to have a real, sustainable and durable agreement, we need dialogue instead of monologue, argumentation instead of imposing things by force and trust instead of mistrust.
I know that you too, as Macedonian diaspora, are concerned about this situation, because the developments in our homeland inevitably reflect on the diaspora.

I am aware about this from the numerous letters from and meetings with the representatives of your organizations. Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support and assistance you have been providing in these moments.

We must not forget that the Republic of Macedonia is not only a state of the Macedonian citizens living in it, but also a homeland to each and every one of you members of the Macedonian diaspora.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In these past few weeks, we have seen and almost daily arrival of high profile foreign representatives who have been persuading Macedonian citizens to show up at the referendum and accept the Greek settlement. However, it seems to go unnoticed that without real reforms, without fight against corruption, without fight against political party elitism and clientelism, there will be no EU and NATO membership. Even if this detrimental Greek agreement is accepted, even if the Macedonian Constitution is amended, EU and NATO membership will not follow by default.

Almost all of those foreign representatives whom I met asked me the same question: what is my position as regards the Settlement.
This was my answer.

In his address to Macedonian citizens back in 1991, on the eve of the referendum for independence, President Gligorov stated that the referendum should be a confirmation that the Macedonian people are a people with long history, awoken democratic awareness and that with that referendum, we should consciously and responsibly write the new page in the book of our own existence.

3galaUnlike that, 27 years later, the referendum on the Greek settlement deletes this privilege that the Macedonian people pronounced themselves about back in 1991.

I wish to remind Macedonian citizens that in article 7, item 3 of the Law on Referendums, 'no one can be held responsible for voting, or not voting at a referendum'. Every citizen has the right to decide how they will act as regards this referendum – whether they will come out and vote or stay home and boycott.

As for me personally, I already voted. I voted 27 years ago, on September 8, 1991. I was one of those who cast their vote in favor of constituting the Republic of Macedonia as a sovereign and independent state, with its own name and dignity. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

I was given citizen support twice – not to allow a change of the Constitution for the purpose of changing the constitutional name and not to accept ideas and proposals that would jeopardize Macedonian national identity, the specificity of the Macedonian nation, Macedonian language and Macedonian model of coexistence. I will not give up on that promise. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

When I took over the position of President of the Republic of Macedonia, I pledged to respect the Constitution and our laws. I will not give up on that pledge. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

This settlement not only changes the name of our existing country, but it also creates a new, semi-sovereign state with a new name and a new internal and international legal identity.

In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, sovereignty derives from the citizens and belongs to the citizens. Do not let that right be taken away from you; do not let anyone de-sovereignize you. Do not allow for someone else to control your conscience and your national pride.

The Republic of Macedonia belongs to the people who created it. And that people does not only have a historical right over its Republic – it also has a historical responsibility; this because no generation, including ours, can claim that everything begins with it. We are just a part of the continuum. It is our responsibility to safeguard and give to our descendants what we have inherited from our ancestors. Just as the Macedonian people are the creator of the Republic of Macedonia, in the same way, the Republic of Macedonia is the guardian of Macedonian identity. The question of the name and identity is older and more precious than any Constitution, any Government, any political party, any President and any individual interest.

Having all of this in mind, I have made my decision. I believe and I am convinced that the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia will make the right and wise decision on September 30.

And just like we are accountable before our citizens, we are also accountable before the diaspora, which has always been and will always be there for Macedonia in the most difficult of times. I believe you will take every opportunity to help in these challenging times, and that united, we will continue to work on our shared vision – to make the Republic of Macedonia a more just, safe and prosperous country.

Thank you.