Simon: Culture Ministry Unlawfully Intervened in Election Campaign

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Most-Hid vice-chair Zsolt Simon (TASR archive photo)

Bratislava, February 9 (TASR) – The Culture Ministry has overstepped its powers, announced Most-Hid vice-chair Zsolt Simon at a press conference on Tuesday, referring to an official letter that the ministry sent to mayor of Lucenec (Banska Bystrica region) Alexandra Pivkova asking her to address unlawful circumstances concerning the election posters of Most-Hid candidates Simon and Stefan Kertesz.

The ministry responded to a complaint from a citizen who pointed out that not all the information on the posters was translated from Hungarian into Slovak, which meant a breach of the law on the state language. Lucenec town council then asked Most-Hid to take down the posters.

Simon pointed out that only the Interior Ministry and district office have a right to oversee the election campaign and not the Culture Ministry or a municipality. “The law on election campaigns doesn’t state anything about the use of the state language,” said Simon.

In this regard Simon filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission, stating that it should ensure that the state doesn’t intervene in the election campaign via the Culture Ministry. Simon expects that the commission will decide that the ministry doesn’t have the right to do this. Simon added that it’s important for Most-Hid to communicate to each voter in their native language. “But it’s also important for us that everyone can understand the message on our posters. That’s why they are bilingual,” said Simon.

According to Culture Ministry spokesman Jozef Bednar, Simon is misleading people. “It’s Most-Hid that is suspected of breaking the law on the state language. This law applies generally in order to make sure that all information published in public communications is available also in the state language to all Slovak citizens,” said Bednar.

“The Most-Hid posters in question, however, include information that isn’t translated into the state language. The Culture Ministry then lawfully asked for such an unlawful situation to be addressed,” said Bednar.