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Parliament overturns presidential vetoes and enacts two laws

With 77 votes in favour, parliament on Tuesday, June 28, broke President Ivan Gašparovič's veto of the amendment to the Act on Use of Minority Languages, the TASR newswire reported.

With 77 votes in favour, parliament on Tuesday, June 28, broke President Ivan Gašparovič's veto of the amendment to the Act on Use of Minority Languages, the TASR newswire reported.

Gašparovič had returned the amendment to parliament two weeks ago, claiming that changes in the sphere of the use of minority languages should have been carried out via a new law rather than amendment of the old one. The legislation was first passed by parliament with 78 votes in late May.

The final version of the passed amendment is quite different from the original proposal that was drafted by Deputy Prime Minister Rudolf Chmel (Most-Híd). The current 20-percent threshold for the official use of minority languages in ethnically mixed towns and villages will be reduced to 15 percent – but only 10 years from now. In order to have town council deliberations in minority languages, the consent of the mayor and not just local councillors will be required. Furthermore, members of minority communities won't be able to use their language in official situations everywhere in Slovakia as the original proposal stipulated, and health-care as well as social facilities won't be required to hire translators for minority languages.

Also on Tuesday, 80 MPs voted to overturn the president's veto concerning an amendment to the Act on Prosecuting Authorities. Gašparovič returned the amendment last week, saying that parliament shouldn't adopt it at all. The legal norm drafted by Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská was originally passed with the support of 76 lawmakers nearly a month ago. The minister drafted the amendment with the main focus on improving the transparency and openness of the prosecuting authorities via the introduction of open selection processes for the posts of prosecutors and by making the decisions of these authorities public.

The amendment underwent a number of changes during its passage, toning down the original draft in which it was proposed that the justice minister should have various powers linked to selecting and disciplining prosecutors. Gašparovič criticised the law change several times.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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