NEWS IN SHORT

Proxy for minorities resigns

ONE OF the two opposition representatives to hold government positions, government plenipotentiary for minorities László Nagy from Most-Híd, resigned his post on June 5.“My decision was born after a thorough consideration of the motion of the Most-Híd board, in which they called on me to abdicate in connection with parliament’s vote on the amendment to the law on using languages of national minorities,” Nagy told the TASR newswire.

ONE OF the two opposition representatives to hold government positions, government plenipotentiary for minorities László Nagy from Most-Híd, resigned his post on June 5.
“My decision was born after a thorough consideration of the motion of the Most-Híd board, in which they called on me to abdicate in connection with parliament’s vote on the amendment to the law on using languages of national minorities,” Nagy told the TASR newswire.

In the June 4 vote, MPs from the ruling Smer party did not support Nagy’s proposed amendment to introduce bilingual signs at railway stations in municipalities where bilingual signs are in use (mainly to mark public offices), in accordance with the law which dictates that bilingual signs must be used in villages where at least 15 percent of inhabitants belong to a national minority.

“Mr Nagy designed a proposal, submitted it to the Government Office, which wasn’t in favour, we proposed it here in parliament and [Nagy’s] work was refused here [too],” Most-Híd chairman Béla Bugár said when explaining the reason behind the party’s call for Nagy to resign, as quoted by TASR.
Prime Minister Robert Fico said that if Nagy leaves his post, the government will find a suitable person who will be able to take over immediately.

“There are other people too who speak languages of national minorities and who are familiar with these issues,” Fico said as quoted by TASR. “It doesn’t automatically mean that it must be someone of the Hungarian national minority, we’ve got Ruthenians, Czechs. A person from any national minority can be selected.”

Nagy, a former Most-Híd MP, became the government plenipotentiary for national minorities on June 14, 2012. His appointment as the new plenipotentiary was based on an agreement with Most-Híd, an opposition party in parliament. He made it clear when he took up the post that the railway sign issue will be a test for his office.

The area of minority rights was previously the responsibility of a deputy prime minister, but the government of Robert Fico decided to abolish the post and establish a plenipotentiary instead. The proxy for national minorities serves as an adviser to the government and coordinates activities with the head of the Government Office and appropriate ministers.

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