House Vote on Discussing Coalition Bills in Fast-track Procedure Postponed

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Slovak Parliament (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 21 (TASR) – Parliament rescheduled the vote on discussing the introduction of the 13th pension payment, doubled family allowances and the scrapping of motorway vignettes in a fast-tracked procedure to Tuesday, February 25, at 10 a.m. due to a lacking quorum on Friday.

Only 68 lawmakers out of 150 were registered as present earlier in the day for the vote. This was due to opposition MPs of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), OLaNO, We Are Family, a group of independents as well as the majority of coalition’s Most-Hid opting not to register for the vote.

In favour of discussing the bill on the 13th pension payment in the fast-tracked procedure were Smer-SD, SNS and far-right LSNS caucuses as well as independent MPs Peter Marcek and Martina Simkovicova.

According to opposition lawmakers awmakers Miroslav Beblavy (independent}, Eduard Heger (OLaNO) and Karol Galek (SaS), failure to hold the vote at a special parliamentary session in a fast-tracked procedure is nothing but a show of hypocrisy on part of the governing coalition.

“We’re glad that their plan to pass the fast-tracked procedure fell through,” stated Beblavy, adding that the coalition doesn’t genuinely wish to change the status quo and is only using social measures as an expedient for their election campaign.

“If they care so much for the people, where are their lawmakers? That speaks volumes in and of itself,” claimed Heger, adding that Smer-SD Mps had turned their backs on their own voters.

Galek called the bills on the agenda a display of election corruption. “Even they weren’t confident this was a good idea and chose not to attend the session,” he pointed out.

We Are Family chair Boris Kollar claimed that Smer-SD chair Robert Fico doesn’t really intend to pursue the social measures and is only engaging in a pre-election charade. In Kollar’s view, Fico didn’t do his homework, as he failed to secure adequate number of lawmakers for the vote.

Parliamentary Chair Andrej Danko (SNS) believes that the vote revealed how each party approaches the motions.

“The vote revealed who is serious about voting,” claimed Danko. He believes that the vote also posed as a test to ascertain the level of support for the fast-tracked procedure, but the result is “no tragedy”.

The Parliamentary Chair in particular drew attention to the manner in which We Are Family party voted. “We Are Family lied to the public, it lied to the coalition and attempts to leech off the issue,” he claimed.

Smer-SD lawmakers don’t know why their own caucus members were absent during the vote. “Almost all of us were here,” stated MP Jozef Valocky (Smer-SD), adding that he doesn’t know who was missing. “But I think we’ll get this passed on Tuesday.”
According to Valocky, some Smer-SD legislators are ill.

“Everyone’s ready, don’t worry,” MP Lubomir Vazny (Smer-SD) told journalists. When asked about the whereabouts of the absent lawmakers, he replied: “I don’t know where they are, go ask them.”