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Slovakian Anthem Ban: President Vetoes New Law

Ábrahám Vass 2019.04.12.

Slovakian president Andrej Kiska has vetoed the law proposal which would have made the singing of foreign national anthems in Slovakia punishable by a fine, Slovakian daily Új Szó reports.

The case made headlines last week when it was revealed that singing a foreign national anthem would be made punishable by a fine of up to EUR 7,000.

Originally, the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) presented the law in connection with a debate surrounding the symbols printed on the Slovak national ice hockey team’s gear. The amendment containing the ban was later added to the original proposal. During the Parliamentary debate, however, SNS’ former Slovak national footballer MP, Dušan Tittel, admitted that the singing done by DAC’s Hungarian fans ahead of kick-off was the main motivator, hence the law’s nickname, “lex DAC.”

On top of that, Hungarian MPs from the Hungarian-Slovakian party Most-Híd voted in favor of the proposal. The party later apologized and group leader Tibor Bastrnák claimed that “an error had occurred.” In addition, party leader Béla Bugár and SNS chairman Andrej Danko asked Kiska to reconsider the law and send it (or certain parts of it) back to the Parliament.

Yesterday, Kiska officially sent the law and his criticisms of it back to the Parliament. Kiska argued that the anthem ban “does not have a clear and reasonable purpose.” This outcome was not entirely one Bugár and Híd wanted. According to Most-Híd spokesperson Klára Debnár, “this is not the first time the President has not stuck to the preliminary agreement.” She explained that “instead of commenting on the problematic parts of the law, specifically about the anthems of other countries, [the President] vetoed the full text of the law.”

Now, it is up to the Slovakian Parliament: if it upholds the presidential veto, the whole law will be removed from the agenda. If it is rejected, however, the current form will remain in effect, including the amendment on the anthems, as upon the renegotiation, the Parliament cannot accept any further changes.

featured image via FC DAC 1904