Lithuanian nationals who want to change their names to include the letters “q”, “x”, and “w” will first need to declare their ethnicity, Justice Minister Evelina Dobrovolska said on Wednesday.
"The law says that an ethnicity record in the resident register is necessary to show that you are a Lithuanian Pole or of any other ethnicity. Specific bills on ethnicity records are now being drafted [...], and I am sure we will have all necessary decisions by May 1," the minister told a press conference on Wednesday.
According to the justice minister, the ethnicity can only be picked based on parents or grandparents' ethnicity records and people will not be able to choose it freely.
Lithuania’s parliament has recently passed a bill that broke a decades-long impasse over the spelling of names that include letters “q”, “x”, and “w” in ID documents. The amendments, which have now been signed by the president, are particularly important for the country’s minorities, as well as nationals married to foreign individuals whose names include the letters that are not part of the Lithuanian alphabet.
Critics say the use of the non-Lithuanian characters runs counter to the constitutional status of the Lithuanian language. The opposition Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS) plans to turn to the Constitutional Court over this law.