Nationalist party SNS has contested the parliamentary election slate of Hungarian coalition party SMK as its chairman Jozsef Berenyi has probably been stripped of his Slovak citizenship.
The SNS waited for the official registration of the SMK slate before filing a petition with the Central Election Committee (UVK) that Berenyi probably no longer holds Slovak citizenship because he is alleged to have assumed also Hungarian citizenship at the beginning of the year, in which case he would automatically lose his Slovak citizenship.
Vice-chairman of the SNS, Andrej Danko, claims that Berenyi lost his Slovak citizenship after applying for Hungarian citizenship, and so cannot run for elections or be chairman of a political party. The Central Electoral Commission refused to examine the claim, however, as all candidates sign sworn declarations that there are no obstacles to their inclusion in the election slates of political parties.
When queried by news channel TA3 if he had also Hungarian citizenship, Berenyi said merely that he was still a Slovak citizen and had a valid Slovak ID card, and so could candidate in the elections. The SNS wants the election committee to force Berenyi to disclose if he has Hungarian citizenship or not, something he has been refusing to do for some time already.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Gabor Grendel, reiterated that if someone assumes the citizenship of another country they at that moment automatically lose their Slovak citizenship and were obliged to notify the authorities about it.
This is yet another case that springs from the bureaucratic citizenship laws adopted in Hungary and Slovakia, where Hungary is offering dual citizenship to ethnic Hungarians abroad and Slovakia is resisting by depriving any Slovak citizen of their citizenship if applying for that of another country.
Slovakia and Hungary have not made any progress in resolving their mutual relations in this area, and even a recent protest case of a Slovak man requesting Hungarian citizenship received the support of the Hungarian government. The citizenship issue between the two countries can therefore be expected to produce a few more conflicts, especially as Berenyi’s SMK party has particularly good relations with the Hungarian government, which keeps it as a kind of foothold in Slovakia.