Slovak Statistical Office: People can list two nationalities in census, which begins today online only
Just as in the Czech Republic, a census of the inhabitants of Slovakia is happening this year, and according to Slovak media reports, a dispute arose there recently about the opportunity to list two nationalities, as is common in the Czech Republic. The questionnaire in Slovakia was first published using the traditional question "What is your nationality?", followed by the new question "Are you also reporting another nationality?", which caused some agitation.
Slovak MP György Gyimesi, a member of the governing OĽaNO (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities) party, did not like the inclusion of that second question, nor did some of the other ethnic Hungarian politicians from the SMK party, which is not seated in the country's unicameral legislature. On 8 February, however, the Slovak Statistical Office withdrew its motion to remove that second question from the form.
The census begins in Slovakia today and will ask these two questions about nationality, which means people in Slovakia will receive, for the first time ever, the opportunity to report two nationalities. The Slovak Statistical Office also announced that the originally-prepared concept for the census, which is held every decade and is being conducted 100 % electronically for the first time ever, will not change.
The new method for listing nationality in the Slovak census sparked a blustery discussion among the public, especially among minority representatives, in the runup to the census. Ethnic Hungarian representatives alleged the adjustment to the method that makes it possible to list two nationalities has not been thought through and could harm the Hungarian community.
Representatives of that community proposed deleting the second question on nationality. Opponents to that proposal said the second question must be kept in so people with multiple identities have the opportunity to express their relationship to more than one nationality.
Part of the governing coalition expressed support for the second question on nationality. Coalition parties expressing that view were the SaS ("Freedom and Solidarity") and "Za lidi" ("For the People") parties, as well as Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, Slovak Public Defender of Rights Marie Patakyová, Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities Andrea Bučková and a majority of the Committee for National Minorities, which is an advisory body to the Government.
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