A group in Lithuania collected 69,000 signatures under a petition which obligates parliament to consider a proposed bill on name spelling in personal identification documents. The initiative, calling itself "Talka - for Lithuania's State Language", seeks to pass a law saying that only Lithuanian characters can be used in passports and other official documents. Lithuania's Polish-speaking community has been voicing demands to allow the use original non-Lithuanian name spelling in passports.
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Civic initiative group "Talka - for Lithuania's State Language" has collected 69 thousand signatures, enough to have the bill put in front of parliament. The group had to meet with Parliament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė on Monday, but the meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday.

On 12 November, the Central Electoral Commission (VRK) ruled that the group had collected enough signatures to fulfil the conditions for citizens' legislative initiatives. The threshold is 50,000. The group's proposal will be submitted to Parliament this week and should be considered in the nearest sitting.

Based on the proposed amendments, only inscriptions in the state language, i.e., Lithuanian, would be allowed on the main page of a passport. Lithuanian citizens would still be allowed to have their names inscribed in the language of their choosing on other pages of their passport or on the reverse side of their ID card.

The proposal is an alternative to the one put forward by social democratic MPs Gediminas Kirkilas and Irena Šiaulienė, which would allow spelling one's name in any Latin-based alphabet. The proposal was opposed by the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language.

At the moment, names of non-Lithuanian origin are often transcribed in Lithuanian alphabet to be entered in official documents. This has been a point of contention for the country's Polish-speaking community.

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