SPEAKER WILL SIGN LANGUAGE BILL

31.07.12


Lytvyn

Speaker Lytvyn has said that he has no choice but to sign the language bill and pass it to the President for ratification.

At the extra Parliamentary meeting on Monday, four motions against the language bill were rejected, with many from the opposition not present or not voting. Lytvyn's resignation was also rejected.

While Lytvyn's resignation letter may have delayed signing of the bill, the Party of the Regions had Adam Martyniuk - deputy speaker and member of the Party of the Regions - in reserve. He allowed the bill to be put on the agenda, unexpectedly, earlier in July.

Once Lytvyn signs, the bill goes to President Yanukovych to be ratified. In his speech to the Party of the Regions party congress on Monday, he said that one of his main concerns was that the law should be upheld in spirit as well as to the letter. His party colleagues ignored the 2000+ amendments that had been tabled to the bill and did not allow the Parliamentary Commission to complete their scrutiny of it. They have also ignored all the calls from academics, poets, singers, church leaders and the OSCE for a compromise to be found that does not disproportionately favour Russian over Ukrainian and create divisions in Ukrainian society. The President therefore has a stark choice: keep to the letter of the law, sign the bill, and put the cohesion of Ukraine at risk (OSCE's concern), or work within the spirit of the law and insist on further discussion to find an answer that protects the rights of ethnic groups, but does not threaten the status of the Ukrainian language.

AUGB wrote to the President previously, but has not yet received a reply. We have tweeted him today with the following text:

"Ради єдності України не підписуйте мовного закону! Не ведіть державу до цілковитого розколу!"

"For the sake of Ukraine's unity, do not sign the language bill! Do not lead the nation into complete division!"

For more on this story, click here (Ukrainian) or click here (English).

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