15 Nov 2017 18:49

Moldovan parliamentary commission approves idea to amend official language name to Romanian from Moldovan

CHISINAU. Nov 15 (Interfax) - The Moldovan parliamentary Commission on Education, Culture, Science, and Media approved a bill on changing the name of the official language in Moldova to Romanian from Moldovan.

A group of 35 parliamentarians had earlier proposed making this amendment to the constitution.

After lengthy debates, the commission approved the proposal in a 5-4 vote that the amendment be considered at a plenary parliamentary session, the parliament's press service told Interfax. The commission members from the Party of Socialists and the Party of Communists were categorically against the bill.

The decisive vote was that of Honorary Chairman of the Democratic Party Dumitru Diacov, who supported the language's renaming. Diacov was a member of the first Moldovan parliament that stipulated in Article 13 of the new Moldovan constitution in 1994 that "the official language is the Moldovan language based on the Latin alphabet."

"I have known all along that the language is Romanian. And I urged my colleagues from the-then ruling Agrarian-Democratic Party to vote for the name 'Romanian language' or write in brackets that 'Moldovan is identical to Romanian'. Unfortunately, political ambitions prevailed at the time. And we have been arguing for 25 years how the language should be called. I think it's time to put an end to this empty debate. I hope my colleagues will support this initiative," Diacov told Interfax.

Two other parliamentary commissions had earlier approved the idea of renaming the official language as well.

Vitalie Gamurari, a spokesman for the ruling Democratic Party, had said on Tuesday that "the party doesn't have a unanimous decision regarding this initiative, but the party leaders speak in the Romanian language."

Moldovan President Igor Dodon had said earlier that he was "determined to categorically block the renaming of the official language in the country's supreme law [the constitution] and will not allow this initiative to be adopted."

Dodon said on Tuesday that the Socialists, who hold 24 mandates in the parliament, have also secured support of 11 other parliamentarians to block the amendment's adoption.

The Moldovan Constitutional Court ruled on December 5, 2013 that the official language in Moldova is the Romanian language. The court motivated its decision by the fact that the text of the Declaration of Independence of Moldova, which identifies the country's language as Romanian, prevails over the constitution, which mentions the Moldovan language as such.

At the end of October 2017, the Constitutional Court endorsed a legislative initiative by a group of parliamentarians on changing the name of the official language to Romanian from Moldovan in the constitution. For the constitutional amendment to be adopted, at least two thirds of the parliamentarians, i.e. 67 of the 101, must vote in its support.