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Constitutional Court dismisses State Citizenship Act complaint

THE CONSTITUTIONAL Court (CC) dismissed a motion at its September 17 session brought by a group of MPs over the constitutionality of the amendment to the State Citizenship Act, which prohibits Slovaks from having dual citizenship. The court rejected the complaint for procedural reasons, CC President Ivetta Macejková said, explaining that it was not supported by the majority of judges present at the session, the SITA newswire reported.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL Court (CC) dismissed a motion at its September 17 session brought by a group of MPs over the constitutionality of the amendment to the State Citizenship Act, which prohibits Slovaks from having dual citizenship. The court rejected the complaint for procedural reasons, CC President Ivetta Macejková said, explaining that it was not supported by the majority of judges present at the session, the SITA newswire reported.

The dismissal means that the CC has not ruled on the law’s constitutionality. Gábor Gál, the representative of the group of MPs that submitted the motion, said they will consider turning to the international court of human rights.

“The CC judges probably do not have an opinion about this issue, while Slovak citizens unwillingly lose their state citizenship,” Gál said, as quoted by SITA, adding that the case is not closed for them and that “we will take further steps on the international and national scene”.

The group of MPs turned to the CC in September 2011, after parliament passed an amendment to the State Citizenship Act in May 2010 prohibiting Slovaks from holding dual citizenship. It stipulates that if Slovaks are granted the citizenship of another country, they automatically lose their Slovak citizenship. The law was passed during the first cabinet of Robert Fico in response to the Hungarian Dual Citizenship Act, which cleared the path for ethnic Hungarians living abroad to gain Hungarian citizenship.

The MPs asked the court to review the law’s constitutionality and stop it from being enforced. The court dismissed the latter request, SITA wrote.

Altogether 886 people have been deprived of their Slovak citizenship since the amendment went into effect, the TASR newswire wrote. Most of them were granted citizenship in the Czech Republic, followed by Germany, Austria and Hungary.

The Interior Ministry says it is preparing an amendment to the law that would set milder conditions for people with dual citizenship. It could allow people to retain their Slovak passport, but only if they have permanent residency in the country that granted them their citizenship, SITA wrote.

Moreover, those who have already lost their Slovak citizenship would be allowed to get it back, as reported by TASR.

Source: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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