IN THE VOTE on the amendment of the school act with the controversial and widely discussed issue of geographical names in textbooks in both the Slovak and Hungarian languages, the MPs for the ruling Smer party will have no instructions to follow, party leader and Prime Minister Robert Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
The law is now in the parliament for the second time after president Ivan Gašparovič refused to sign it at the end of 2008. The first time it was voted, Smer supported the law.
“I don’t know how the MPs will treat it; since it is a law that has been returned, it is fully in their hands now,” said Fico, adding that he will respect any decision. If the parliament passes the law for the second time, the signature of the president is no longer required for it to come into effect.
“If the law is not passed, we will search for other solutions,” Fico said. “If it is passed I hope we will be able to focus on much more important things.”
The parliamentary committee for education met on February 2. The committee chairman, László Szigeti from the Hungarian Coalition Party, said the committee agreed on breaking the veto of the president and will seek to pass the law again. The only committee member against doing so was the representative of the Slovak National Party.
Compiled by Michaela Stanková from press reports
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3. Feb 2009 at 14:00