President Ivan Gašparovič vetoed the amendment to the Act on Use of Minority Languages and returned it to parliament. The legislation was passed with 78 votes on May 25 but the head of state said parliament should not have adopted the amendment in its complete form, Gašparovič's spokesman, Marek Trubač, told the TASR newswire.
In supporting his veto, Gašparovič said, among other things, that changes in the use of minority languages in Slovakia should have been done by adopting a new law rather than amending the old one.
The final version of the passed amendment is quite different from the original proposal drafted by Deputy Prime Minister Rudolf Chmel (Most-Híd) because of a number of objections raised by Igor Matovič, an independent MP and leader of the 'Ordinary People' faction of Freedom and Solidarity party.
The current 20-percent threshold for the official use of minority languages in ethnically mixed towns and villages was reduced to 15 percent but applies only 10 years from now. Matovič also pushed through a concession that the consent of a mayor and not only local council members will be required to have town council deliberations in a minority language. Additional, members of minority communities will not be able to use their language everywhere in Slovakia as the original proposal required and health care as well as social facilities will not be required to hire interpreters for speakers of a minority language.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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16. Jun 2011 at 10:00