Ciz: Slovak Parliament Shouldn’t Give Up on Proper Political Culture

Smer-SD MP Miroslav Ciz (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 4 (TASR) – Slovakia shouldn’t abandon proper political culture, and the Slovak Parliament must move into a position that will allow it to discuss factual issues, said Smer-SD MP Miroslav Ciz on RTVS’s politics show ‘O 5 minut 12’ (Five Minutes to Twelve) on Sunday in reference to the issue of amending Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) recently drafted an amendment to the Rules of Procedure that has caused considerable indignation on the part of the Opposition. 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.
The chair would also be able to file a motion for disciplinary proceedings against an MP. In addition, Danko wants to introduce a dress code and bans on using mobile phones, consuming food and drink and video recordings.

According to Ciz, the new Rules of Procedure will be among the most liberal when compared to those of other EU parliaments. “The role of the Rules of Procedure isn’t only to provide the Opposition with scope for anything it comes up with, but also to ensure tools for the majority so that it’s able to administer the state,” said Ciz.

Meanwhile, OLaNO-NOVA caucus chairman Richard Vasecka is convinced that such a change in the Rules of Procedure isn’t necessary at all at this point. According to him, changes are needed only for the governing coalition, as it’s been unable to sweep Opposition protests and the Basternak tax fraud case with alleged links to Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) under the carpet.

“This amendment won’t resolve anything. Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko isn’t acting reasonably, but foolishly,” said Vasecka, adding that the Opposition rejects restrictions on freedom of expression in Parliament that include, for example, banning photographs or the use of diagrams in the House.

Most-Hid caucus leader Gabor Gal thinks that there’s a need to set certain limits on how MPs should behave during a debate, thereby hindering meaningless obstructions. “The material is still ‘raw’, and it certainly won’t be approved in its current form, as we’re still discussing the comments,” said Gal.

Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) caucus chair Natalia Blahova views the current amendment to the Rules of Procedure as dangerous and in some respects even unconstitutional. According to her, almost all the proposed changes are unreasonable and impossible to introduce. She noted that the Opposition has asked Danko to set up a working group so that the changes can be exposed to broad opinion.