- April 14, 2022
Acts to the Spelling of Names Bill. EAPL–CFA Did Not Vote for the Necessary Amendments
In the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, two very important for Poles in Lithuania amendments were considered, without which the recently adopted Law on the Spelling of Names would not be fully applicable in practice. The first amendment concerns the entry of nationality in the registry – because one can claim the original record of their name based on it. The second amendment clarifies the legal order of spelling names in documents. In the case of both amendments, Polish MPs voted… differently. Or not at all.
Entry of nationality based even on grandparents’ nationality
An amendment to the Law on the Registration of Civil Status Records stipulates that the entry of nationality in the registers can also be made on the basis of a subsequent request by the citizen and the nationality of their parents or even grandparents. Until now, nationality was entered into the registers only based on the parents’ nationality and at the request of the child’s parents.
It is the nationality entry that determines whether there will be a possibility to write the surname with “w,” “q,” or “x” and with the appropriate phonetic notation (e.g. Anna, not Ana). The change of law is a tribute to those who have no record of nationality despite Polish parents or grandparents and would like to avail of the possibility of the original record of the name or surname.
How did the Polish deputies of the EAPL-CFA vote?
On that day, out of three deputies of Polish nationality in the Parliament of Lithuania (excluding Ewelina Dobrowolska from the Freedom Party), there were two — Czesław Olszewski and Beata Pietkiewicz, who recently left the ranks of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. Member of the Parliament Rita Tamašunienė was not present.
The draft amendments to the Civil Registration Act passed by a margin of 87 votes. 26 MP’s abstained, and 13 members voted against.
MP Beata Pietkiewicz voted for the amendment, but Czesław Olszewski abstained. Rita Tamašunienė did not vote, as she was absent.
Ewelina Dobrowolska, MP of Polish nationality from the Freedom Party, also voted in favor of the law change.
The second time was the same
The same vote was also taken on an amendment to the Identity Cards and Passports Act, which indicates how names should be written on identity documents. Without this amendment, the Name Spelling Act could not be fully applied because the old provision did not refer to the Act.
In the case of this important amendment, the MPs of EAPL-CFA and Beata Pietkiewicz voted similarly to the amendment to the Law on Registration of Civil Status Records.
Czesław Olszewski abstained from voting, Rita Tamašunienė was not present, Beata Pietkiewicz voted in favor. The draft amendment was passed by a majority vote, which was 87 in favor, 13 against, and 25 abstentions.
The political context
Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance is experiencing an image crisis. After a public comment made by Zbigniew Jedziński, the ex-MP and former “number one” on the political party list, who said that Poland should withdraw from NATO and the EU and enter an alliance with Russia, staff changes have taken place in the party.
Some politicians have left the party, including a member of parliament, Beata Pietkiewicz. Nevertheless, she did not resign from her seat, arguing that she was elected to the Parliament from a single-member constituency and, therefore, she represents the voters, not the party. Rita Tamašunienė commented on her decision by saying that “the deputy is still struggling to find her way in politics.”
Moreover, Czesław Olszewski dismissed Zbigniew Jedziński, who became famous for his controversial statements, from his position as an advisor.
Translated by Marta Graban within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.