President Ivan Gašparovič said on March 7 that he will not call a referendum concerning the exclusive use of the Slovak language in official communications after the President's Office evaluated the signatures on the referendum initiative advanced by the Slovak National Party (SNS), the TASR newswire reported.
"The President's Office has concluded that 361,117 signatures were double-checked on the submitted sheets and 336,629 were valid and 24,488 were invalid," said Gašparovič's spokesman, Marek Trubač. A total of 350,000 signatures are required to call a referendum.
"We'll wait for an official statement from Mr President and I suppose the SNS presidium will deal with the issue straightaway," said SNS spokesperson Jana Benková. SNS started to collect signatures on the referendum petition in April 2011.
A dispute about the legality of such a referendum question emerged immediately afterwards as well as in the midst of a protracted discussion about the current State Language Act. The question SNS wanted to put to voter regarded exclusive use of Slovak in official contacts at all Slovak administrative bodies.
TASR noted that the Slovak Constitution bans referendums on issues linked to human rights.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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