Fico Threatens to Link Vote on Salary Freeze to No-Confidence Motion

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Prime Minister Robert Fico. (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 29 (TASR) – If MPs don’t change their stance on a salary freeze for some constitutional officials by the end of this year, I’ll link the vote to a no-confidence motion in the Government, stated Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) on Wednesday after MPs refused to adopt a salary freeze via fast-track proceedings.

“It was with great resentment that I was informed of the decision of Parliament, which didn’t pass the proposed salary freeze for constitutional officials. In the context of salary conditions in Slovakia, I consider hikes in these salaries of almost €1,000 to be completely unacceptable,” said Fico.

The premier expects legislators to change their minds in this regard by the end of the year. “Otherwise, I’ll link the vote on constitutional officials’ salaries to a no-confidence motion in the Government. At the same time, I’m ready to discuss a systemic solution for this issue across the political spectrum,” he added.

MPs on Tuesday (November 28) didn’t pass the Government’s proposal to decide on the aforementioned matter via fast-track proceedings. This would prevent the bill from coming into effect as early as in January 2018. Only 32 legislators voted for fast-track proceedings, including MPs from the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS), some MPs from the governing Smer-SD party, Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko from the coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) and a few MPs from the coalition Most-Hid party.

The proposal for fast-track proceedings wasn’t met with enthusiasm among several Opposition MPs, either. “The Government is justifying this by claiming that it [not adopting a salary freeze] would cause considerable economic damage. So, according to the Government, if MPs, the president and members of the Government received the salary that is prescribed by law, this would cause considerable economic damage. The Government is actually saying that these salaries are basically economic damage and that those who vote for fast-track proceedings actually agree with the claim that the salaries of MPs, members of the Government and the president are economically damaging to the state,” said Ondrej Dostal of the Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party.

MPs currently earn a gross salary of €1,961 per month plus flat-rate expenses. MPs from Bratislava region receive €1,385 via these expenses, while those from the remaining regions get €1,615. Bratislava MPs thus earn €3,346 per month, while the monthly income of non-Bratislava lawmakers is €3,576. The parliamentary chairman, vice-chairs, chiefs of parliamentary committees and their vice-chairs receive extra money as well. If MPs didn’t have their salaries frozen again, their incomes would swell by some €1,000.

Lawmakers’ salaries have been at the same level since 2011.