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Ukraine’s ruling party, parliament speaker fail to agree on language law

July 06, 2012, 15:51 UTC+3

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said he would make up his mind about signing the language law after its thorough study

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KIEV, July 6 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine’s ruling Party of Regions has failed to talk the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Vladimir Litvin, into signing the language policy law, leader of the party’s parliamentary faction Alexander Yefremov told journalists on Friday.

“We met with Vladimir Litvin, held consultations, but we failed to agree that he would sign the language law,” Yefremov informed. Earlier, he said that in the event the speaker did not put his signature under the law, the Party of Regions would file a law suite against him.

On July 3, the Verkhovna Rada passed the Law “On the Basic Principles of State Language Policy” that significantly broadens the rights of ethnic minorities, while preserving the status of Ukrainian as the only official language in Ukraine.

According to the document, in a region where an ethnic minority makes up more than 10 percent of the population, its language will have a special status.

After the law has entered into force, Russian will get the status of a regional language in 13 of 27 Ukrainian regions, including the Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Lugansk, Nikolayev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Kherson, and Chernigov regions, in Crimea, and in the cities of Kiev and Sevastopol. The same status will be awarded to the Crimean Tatar language in Crime, to the Hungarian language in the Zakarpatye region, and to the Romanian language in the Chernovtsy region.

Before the voting, Litvin left the assembly hall and his first deputy, Adam Martymyuk, regulated the voting procedure. The speaker however said the law cannot be signed because it had been passed with violations. The document may not be submitted to the Ukrainian president unless it is signed by the parliament speaker.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said he would make up his mind about signing the language law after its thorough study. “I will make us of all my competences applicable to this case. It will be possible for me to pronounce my viewpoint and, consequently, take a decision only upon a thorough study,” Yanukovich said.

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