President Ivan Gašparovič on Friday, March 19, returned the Patriotism Act drawn up by the Slovak National Party (SNS) to parliament.
"I won't sign it for pragmatic reasons. It's got nothing to do with the content of the Patriotism Act per se, as I have no objections there," Gašparovič said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that he was concerned that schools wouldn't be ready for the bill had it come into effect, according to the original timetable, on April 1. He stressed that the law needs to be passed in as 'dignified' a manner as possible.
Premier Robert Fico had asked the president to return the Patriotism Act, which attracted a great deal of criticism, to parliament so that it could be modified to come into effect as of September. Fico has also said he supports the bill.
Under the proposed law, the national anthem would be played prior to sessions of the government, parliament and local councils, and at schools and other state educational institutions at the start of each academic week. In addition, 'education in patriotism' would be incorporated into curricula at all levels of the education system. State schools would be obliged to place state emblems – the national flag, the words of the national anthem, and the preamble to the Slovak Constitution – in their classrooms.
Gašparovič added that the bill can be amended in the next parliamentary term and put under the State Symbols Act. If parliament approves the bill in its current wording again and postpones its date of validity to September 1, rules for its implementation will be necessary in order to clarify its interpretation, Gašparovič said.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
22. Mar 2010 at 14:00