Danko: 20 or 30 Minutes Should Be Enough to State One’s Opinion

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Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 25 (TASR) – There are only three relevant European states that don’t have limited time on MPs’ speeches in their legislative assemblies, said Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) on TA3’s discussion programme ‘V politike’ (In Politics) on Sunday.

There are only three relevant European states that don’t have limited time on MPs’ speeches in their legislative assemblies, said Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) on TA3’s discussion programme ‘V politike’ (In Politics) on Sunday.

Danko said that an MP should be able to state their opinion in 20 or 30 minutes. Slovak MEP and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) chairman Richard Sulik is of a different opinion, however.
“Eighty percent [of speeches] are just marketing moves and not on point; not pertinent. And this has started to be misused,” Danko pointed out, stressing the misuse of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

“I can’t constantly deal with bickering and squabbling in Parliament,” noted Danko, adding that MEPs have just a single minute to present their point.

Sulik said that speeches in Slovakia have never been limited. “That’s the big advantage, the big plus of Slovakia’s Parliament,” emphasised Sulik, adding that there is a provision in the current form of the rules of procedure that stipulates the maximum time of the whole discourse about a single bill, that is 12 hours. He said that most of his speeches were under 30 minutes, but when he talked about Greece or tax reforms it took him around an hour.

The new rules should usher in time limits on MPs’ speeches in the House, while allowing unlimited time for the president, prime minister, Cabinet members, the parliamentary chair and vice-chairs to have their say. Moreover, the head of parliament should acquire extra powers, including, for example, the right to suspend a session if he or she ejects an MP from the House for inappropriate behaviour but the MP refuses to comply. The chair would also be able to file a motion for disciplinary proceedings against an MP. In addition, the change should introduce a dress code and bans on using mobile phones, consuming food and drink and video recordings.

The Opposition doesn’t agree with the changes and has demanded that the amendment should be withdrawn. It would like to draft a new amendment jointly with the Coalition, as it fears the Coalition will use the legislation against the bill, which has been voted through to its second reading on 80 votes.

Debaters also spoke about OLaNO-NOVA MP Daniel Lipsic, who when driving his car on Monday (September 19) evening ran over a man who subsequently died in hospital. Sulik said that Lipsic set the bar of political culture way up high and that he’ll be a great loss to Parliament. Danko reminded that, after all, it was a fatal accident and it was Lipsic’s duty to step down.

Lipsic at a press conference on Thursday (September 22) announced that he’ll give up his seat in Parliament by September 30.

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