• November 21, 2016
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Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union are proposing both surname version notation in passport.

The ruling majority in the Parliament considers implementation of the notation of non-Lithuanian surnames in documents on the first page of passport.

Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union is proposing the notation of both versions of surname on the main page of a passport- one using the Lithuanian alphabet, and the other- using any Latin alphabet. In the official register would be used only the Lithuanian version of a surname.

The authors of this idea are hoping that such version would please in particular Polish people living in Lithuania who endeavour to original spelling of surnames, for instance using the letter “w”.

The leader of Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union, Ramūnas Karbauskis informed that at the moment notation of both surname version on the main page of a passport using the slash (Mackevič/Mackiewicz) is under consideration. Karbauskis stressed that it is only about spelling a surname in Latin alphabet, not in Cyrillic.

Notation of surname on the main or the additional page of a passport has been considered by the Parliament since many years, however, they did not manage to come to any decision.

Notation of surname on a passport is actual not only for the Poles but also for the Lithuanian women who have married the foreigner.

Since 1991 notation of surnames in ID card and passport in Lithuanian alphabet is in force. During recent years Lithuanian courts have made a few positive decisions in the case of notation of non-Lithuanian surnames using symbols like “w” or “x”. They have paid attention to the fact that compulsory lithuanization of surname may cause difficulties and also intrudes private and family sphere of some people, especially after Lithuania joined the European Union.

The critics claim that this change is a hit in the Lithuanian language status and may cause problems with reading some surnames.

The former judge of Lithuanian Constitutional Court Vytautas Sinkevičius says that the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union’s  idea is not legitimate according to the Constitution of Lithuania because it states just about one version of a surname on the main page of a passport.

The manager of the Political Science Department on Witold Wielki University in Kowno, Andrzej Pukszto thinks that the ruling party’s idea is a little step towards making the relation between Lithuania and Poland better. “It would be a tiny but symbolic step towards. In my opinion, people are waiting for a bigger one. Besides, this is not the biggest problem- recently more tension has been caused by the education reform, re-organisation of schools with Polish as the language of instruction”- said Pukszto for the journalists.

Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union’s partners from the ruling coalition, social-democrats, think that the decision on spelling surnames should be made only after ascertaining if such solution will please the Poles living in Lithuania.

“If such decision please some part of our Poles, who want the original spelling of surnames, then why not. All compromises are acceptable, but the question is whether the other side is content about such solution?”- said vice-manager of social-democratic party, Gediminas Kirkilas, to the journalists.

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

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