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Slovak Parliament overrules president’s veto of Language Act amendment

The Slovak Parliament on Wednesday, February 2, overrode President Ivan Gašparovič’s veto and approved a previously passed amendment to the State Language Act, the TASR newswire reported.

The Slovak Parliament on Wednesday, February 2, overrode President Ivan Gašparovič’s veto and approved a previously passed amendment to the State Language Act, the TASR newswire reported.

The law change was originally designed to become effective as of January 1, but has now been adjusted to come into force from March 1. Gašparovič returned the law to parliament on the grounds that the amendment left decisions about whether a fine should be imposed in the event of a breach of the act to the Culture Ministry.

The opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) recently announced that it might challenge the law in the Constitutional Court if it were passed again. SNS vice-chair Rafael Rafaj said that the party wants to exhaust all legislative options before filing the complaint. SNS will need allies in this process, and is counting on MPs from Smer, the largest opposition party, to support its initiative.

The amendment submitted by the Culture Ministry narrows the number of situations in which penalties can be applied for failure to use Slovak, or for its incorrect use. It was designed to tone down the law currently in effect, passed under the previous government led by Robert Fico, which among other measures created a wide range of sanctions. Those sanctions – the most criticised part of the law – will from March only be imposed in cases where information affecting the lives, health, security or property of Slovak citizens is concerned or in which information published by public administration authorities is not presented in Slovak.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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