Opposition Calls on Kiska Not to Sign Changed Rules of Procedure

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OLaNO-NOVA leader Igor Matovic (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 26 (TASR) – Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and OLaNO-NOVA MPs call on President Andrej Kiska not to sign the amendment to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure that was adopted earlier on Wednesday.

At the same time, the Opposition has filed a motion to the Constitutional Court on this matter and has promised to turn to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg if these changes are applied in practice.

“Unfortunately, and despite the Opposition’s resistance, the coalition approved a law that is aimed at muzzling us. They want to turn Parliament into an automatic voting machine that will approve only coalition proposals,” said OLaNO-NOVA MP Veronika Remisova at a press conference.

Remisova suggested that if the Opposition brings banners to a session and is fined for doing so, it will turn to the ECHR. “This court has already said that members of a political minority have the right to express their views in a non-verbal way as well. I’m perplexed that such a law that goes against the freedom of expression was passed by the coalition majority. I regret it; it’ll remain written in the history of our democracy forever,” stressed Remisova.

SaS caucus chair Natalia Blahova noted that persons presiding over sessions will either ignore this law and won’t elicit fines, or they’ll charge them and we’ll end up in a democratic cesspool. “This amendment still has some huge errors from the point of view of the imbalance between the coalition and the Opposition,” added Blahova, noting that even though this law is wrong, SaS will strive to abide by it.

Meanwhile, OLaNO-NOVA leader Igor Matovic plans to continue using visual props during his speeches. “Why shouldn’t I be able to bring a graph of how very few children are being born in Slovakia? If Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko thinks that he’ll scare me with his inquisition committee and take my freedom via fines, then he’s mistaken. I’ll understand every member of the Opposition who respects this law, but I’ll never pay a fine,” announced Matovic, adding that this would be his personal protest against the diminishing of democracy.

Coalition MPs at a parliamentary session on Wednesday approved an amendment to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. Banners, leaflets and audio-visual presentations won’t be allowed during parliamentary sessions any more. Moreover, there will be time limits on the speeches of legislators, parliamentary vice-chairs and ministers, while the time allotted to the president, prime minister and parliamentary chair won’t be restricted. The parliamentary chair will also be allowed to launch disciplinary proceedings against unruly MPs.

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