The good news is that Macedonia’s presidential election yesterday went off peacefully and, it seems, democratically. The bad news, of course, is that this does not bring the country any closer to choosing a name that is also acceptable to their Greek neighbors, whose northernmost province awkwardly also bears the name Macedonia.
In this respect, the suggestion conveyed by EU and NATO officials, that a repeat of last year’s tumultuous elections could further distance Macedonia from membership in the two bodies, is a little disingenuous. Assuredly this vote was very important, and the ability to conduct peaceful elections should be a staple of an aspiring EU and NATO state, but the reality is that Macedonia’s candidacy has been stalled not by its electoral difficulties, but by Greece’s stringent objection to the country’s name. And it was a president being elected yesterday, not a name.