• January 6, 2016
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Problem of Spelling non-Lithuanian Names in their Original Form. Solution in the Spring?

Prime Minister of Lithuania,  the president of the Social Democratic Party of Lituania assures that the problem of non-Lithuanian names, including Polish names, will be solved this spring. He does not hide his dissatisfaction with the fact that the Seimes has not adopted yet an appropriate law.

– It is upset that the law on spelling non-Lithuanian names has not been adopted. This issue has to be solved as soon as possible. During the last session of the Government I said that marking time and not making a decision do not improve relations between those two countries. The issue of spelling non-Lithuanian names in their original form is one of the most annoying problem as far as Polish-Lithuanian relations are concerned – said Algirdas Butkevičius for „Kurier”.

According to the PM the draft on spelling names is blocked by  Lithuanian Speaker of the Seimas, the leader of the Lithuanian Labour party – Loreta Graužinienė. That is why the fraction of the Social Democrats has decided to collect required number of signature to submit for consideration of the Seimas.

– I have proposed myself introduction at the plenary session a draft on non-lithuanian names. I cannot understand why the Speaker of the Seimas – Loreta Graužinienė had not discussed this issue earlier. I hope that during the spring session we will reach a satisfactionary solution and problems of people with non-Lithuanian names will disappear. I take responsibility for it – stressed the PM.

The Speaker of the Seimas – Loreta Graužinienė said that there are three registered bills on spelling non-Lithuanian names and surnames.

– One­­ of the bill proposed by the members of civil society predicts tu pu the name spelled in its original form on passport’s first page, if requested. That bill is currently discussed by Seimas Committees. Having Seimas Commiteess’s decision all bills will be submitted to the Parliament- said Loreta Graužinienė.

Meanwhile, Wanda Krawczok, Member of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (LLRA) said for „Kurier” that she doubts that the problem of spelling non-Lithuanian names will be solved during the spring session.

– It is not the first time we have heard such declarations. This kind of declaration are especially make before elections. We will hear more promises. Before the last elections the election programme of the Social Democratic Party devoted special attention to the problems of minorities, but none of the promises have been carried out. We look sceptically on their promises.

The Lithuanian law provides that all names and surnames must be written in a Lithuanian form.

In the Seimas there are three alternatives bills on spelling names. One is proposed by the Social Democrats and one by the Conservatives. Both have been adopted at the first reading.

The Social Democrats propose to allowing the original spelling of a name using non-Lithuanian Latin-based characters. Meanwhile, an alternative bill drafted by the Conservatives allow to put non-Lithuanian names in their original spelling form, including Polish spelling, on a separate passport page. At the first page will be a name written in Lithuanian form.

In their project a social group “Tłoka na rzecz państwowego języka litewskiego” which gather right-wing activists and nationalists proposes to put non-Lithuanian names in their original form on another passport’s page.

– We will see at the spring if they respect theirs declarations. There are three registered bills and we do not know which of them will be submitted for consideration of the Seimas. Because of not having the appropriate law adopted, the government makes life more difficult for their citizens, especially for women who have married foreigners. The reason of not having the law adopted it the lack of political will – said Krowczok.

Translated by Angelika Gucik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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