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Macedonia's President Says He Won't Vote in Referendum

Macedonian President George Ivanov addresses to the media in the Presidential office in Skopje, June 13, 2018.

Macedonia's president says he won't vote in a Sept. 30 referendum on whether to change the Balkan country's name to "North Macedonia."

Macedonians will vote next weekend on a proposal to change the country's name, ending a long-running dispute with neighboring Greece, which sees the use of the term "Macedonia " as a claim on its own province of the same name.

President Gjorge Ivanov was speaking to members of the Macedonian diaspora in Detroit on Saturday. He reiterated his position that the deal with Greece is "harmful and defeating" for Macedonia, according to a statement released by his office Sunday.

Polls indicate Macedonians will likely back the deal, but it remains unclear whether turnout will meet the required 50-percent threshold for the vote to be valid.