CITIZENS of the village of Tešedíkovo should exercise their constitutional right and turn to the Constitutional Court over the government’s refusal to consent to their request to have the village renamed to Pered, Most-Híd MPs Arpád Érsek and Gábor Gál wrote in an open letter they sent to the village, the TASR newswire reported on December 10.

As the deadline for filing an application with the Constitutional Court is about to expire, “it’s necessary to use the option of promoting the opinion of the local inhabitants at the Constitutional Court”, the letter reads, as quoted by TASR.

The MPs also informed the local community that they are pushing for legislation in parliament, which, if passed, would resolve similar situations in southern Slovakia in favour of the towns and villages.

In October the government rejected the request to have the village’s name changed from its Slovak name Tešedíkovo to its traditional Hungarian name, Pered. The request emerged in the wake of a valid local referendum held in tandem with the last parliamentary election in March 2012. That plebiscite saw a turnout of 64.47 percent of voters, with 65.45 percent of them voting in favour of returning to the original name Pered and 33.59 percent voting against the name change. Under the law, a village’s name can only be changed with the consent of the government.

Slovakia’s ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová also believes the government should have accepted the referendum result, even though it is not required to, she wrote in a letter published on her website on December 6.

Tešedíkovo’s inhabitants were allowed to exercise their right to participate in the administration of public affairs in the referendum, but this is only a formal exercise of this right, Dubovcová noted in her letter, suggesting that form should not override content.

The state acted only based on the formal interpretation of the law, but they should always act based on the premise that all power comes from the people, Dubovcová wrote. In line with that, they should take all possible steps to incorporate the name of the village into the codified language if it is possible and if it is in line with the law.