The president of the Serb National Council (SNV), Milorad Pupovac, has described as worrying the statement by Minister of the Interior Vlaho Orepic that the Serb minority in Vukovar had manipulated the registration of residence in that eastern city and that after false residence registrations were removed, "there will no longer be any legal grounds for the use of the Cyrillic script in Vukovar."
"Mr. Minister, you have accused, several times, an entire ethnic minority of manipulating residence registration so your accusations do not only worry us, they make us afraid," Pupovac said in an open letter to Orepic following his statement, made in an interview with the Vecernji List daily.
Responding to accusations from the right political camp that his ministry was removing from the voter register fictitious voters in Imotski and Vrgorac, southern towns close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina where most voters vote for the HDZ party, Orepic said: "No one wants to say the truth, but I believe that if all false registrations of residence are removed, the Serb minority in Vukovar will not have the 30% (share in the local population entitling it to the equal use of its language and script). If that has been the only ground for using the Cyrillic script in Vukovar, after this, it will no longer exist. The Serb minority has manipulated residence registration."
Commenting on Orepic's remark that the Serb minority has manipulated residence registration, Pupovac said that there was reason to ask if basic preconditions existed for the exercise of minority rights considering the fact that Orepic was either unaware of or intentionally ignored the difference between the Law on Residence, the Law on the Voter Register and the Census Law.
A minority's right to the official use of its language and script is not based on the voter register but on the census, Pupovac said.
"So do not misguide the public into believing that you will solve the issue of the Cyrillic script that way," Pupovac said.