In a 2012 referendum residents of Tešedíkovo (in south-western Slovakia, near the town of Šaľa) voted to officially change the town’s name to Pered – the Hungarian version of the municipal moniker. But the government rejected that proposal October 16.
In the referendum (attended by 64.5 percent of locals), 65.45 percent voted for the return to the earlier name, Pered, the TASR newswire wrote. The municipality then asked for the name to be changed, which can only be done by the government.
Pered is currently preserved as the municipality’s name in Hungarian, also in the addendum to the government decree and the related list of municipalities in which Slovak citizens belonging to ethnic minority constitute at least 20 percent of total inhabitants. It was renamed by decree in 1948 in honour of Samuel Tešedík.
The request for the name to be changed was assessed by the permanent sub-commission for names of the Terminological Committee of the Interior Ministry which opined that the change would breech the law on municipal establishment and state language. The subcommission’s stance was welcomed also by the Culture Ministry which pointed out that official names of municipalities are only in the state language, while also respecting the standard norm of the Slovak language.
Most-Híd MP Árpád Érsek stressed that the name Pered was recorded as early as in 1237 and was used still before the 1948 re-naming. He also reminded that in 1948, then-communist politician Daniel Okáli erased 710 historical names of municipalities, mainly in southern Slovakia, mostly connected with the Hungarian or German ethnic minorities.
Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák denied the government was ignoring the citizens’ referendum, and stressed that the names of municipalities have to be in the official language. He concluded that it would not be appropriate to return to old names – just like Bratislava will not return to its previous name, Pozsony.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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17. Oct 2013 at 14:00