The Lithuanian Seimas passed a draft of Law on name spelling on Tuesday, which allows for the original spelling of names based on the Latin alphabet in identity documents. An alternative draft, postulating an introduction of the original name spelling on the further passport page, was also passed in the first reading.
The Seimas has also decided that it will request conclusions concerning the draft of the Commission of the Lithuanian Language.
57 representatives voted for the social democrats’ draft, 32 were against, 12 abstained. 49 representatives voted for the conservatives’ proposal, 8 were against, 24 abstained.
Next readings will be taking place during the second session of the Parliament.
Irena Šiaulienėne, one of the authors of the social democrats’ draft while presenting it, assured that she is initiating the passing of an appropriate law not because of the national minorities, but because of the Lithuanian women who married foreigners and face many problems while being unable to write their names in the original spelling.
Then a conservative Valentinas Stundys emphasised that the draft was unconstitutional and contradicted the status of the Lithuanian language as the state one. Stundys is the author of an alternative draft, according to which the original name spelling could be allowed on the further passport page.
In February the Constitutional Court ruled that upon the linguists’ motion the Parliament can change the rules that now provide for the first and last names of the Lithuanian citizens to be written only with the use of the letters in the Lithuanian alphabet.
The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania is striving for the passing of an appropriate law on original name spelling. This issue, unresolved for years, is the source of dispute between Vilnius and Warsaw.
In 2010 during the President Lech Kaczyński’s visit in Vilnius, the Seimas voted down a draft of a law on original name spelling presented by the conservative government of A. Kubilius.
Tłumaczenie by Alicja Dudzik w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Alicja Dudzik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.