kprlThe presidential election in Lithuania will take place on the 11th of May this year. The text that enables us to give an answer for questions concerning internal and foreign policy as well as comparing one’s ideas with the position of candidates for presidency was published on the website . The answers of candidates were made public.

Among the 31 questions, the most important ones from the point of view of national minorities are those about the original spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames in documents as well as those about the degree of attention paid to the protection of national minorities in Lithuania. Possible answers for the questions were: Yes, Probably yes, Probably no, No, I don’t have an opinion.

 The answers of candidates are presented below:

Candidate Do you agree with the original spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames in passports to be permitted (with the usage of non-Lithuanian signs)? Do you agree that in Lithuania insufficient attention is being paid to the protection of national minorities?
1. Artūras Zuokas Yes No
2. Dalia Grybauskaitė No No
3. Waldemar Tomaszewski Yes Yes
4. Naglis Puteikis Probably no Probably no
5. Artūras Paulauskas Probably yes Probably yes
6. Zigmantas Balčytis Yes No
7. Bronis Ropė Probably yes Probably yes


According to the table most of the candidates state that Lithuania pays enough attention to the protection of national minorities. In the opinion of EFHR it proves that the majority of candidates lack knowledge about the legal situation in Lithuania, especially knowledge related to the insufficient protection for national minorities.

EFHR reminds all that the issue of protection for national minorities in Lithuania was addressed in the reports of national and international organizations (more about it) , as well as in the EFHR report.

The answers concerning the permission for the original spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames in passports are more optimistic. Only two candidates do not support this solution – President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Naglis Puteikis.

Simple permission for the original spelling of surname does not solve a problem, emphasizes EFHR. It is also important to include the notation in a document – on a main or additional site of a passport. More EFHR opinions on Lithuanian Seimas registered legal regulations concerning the spelling of names and surnames can be found here and here.