Top Parliamentary Officials May Face Moves to Dismiss Them

Top Parliamentary Officials May Face Moves to Dismiss Them

Bratislava, July 18 (TASR) – Parliamentary Chair Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) and Vice-chairs Andrej Hrnciar (Siet/Network) and Lucia Nicholsonova (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS) might face moves to dismiss them, TASR learnt on Monday.

Some parties are considering moves in order to react to perceived chaos and violations of the Rules of Procedure and the Slovak Constitution during recent extraordinary sessions with no-confidence motions in Interior Minister Robert Kalinak and Prime Minister Robert Fico (both Smer-SD) on the agenda. The considerations also include proposals for dismissals. However, no final decisions have been made either by the governing coalition, or the Opposition yet. Proposals probably won’t be submitted during the summer.

“The way in which Vice-chair Lucia Nicholsonova proceeded was a serious political failure and violation of the principles of parliamentary democracy that unambiguously provide grounds for filing a proposal for her dismissal from her post,” parliamentary vice-chair Martin Glvac (Smer-SD) told TASR.

Glvac was alluding to the fact that Nicholsonova initiated a session with a no-confidence motion in Fico without any authorisation; not via a traditional vote, but by estimating the number of MPs in the chamber. She found the attendance list to be sufficient for setting the number of lawmakers. The coalition described this as a flagrant violation of the Rules of Procedure followed by chaos. Wielding Danko’s authorisation to lead the session, Hrnciar terminated it. However, the Opposition sees his move as an attack on its constitutional rights. At the same time, it’s questioned the authenticity of Danko’s signature on the authorisation document for Hrnciar.

Parliament’s leadership has yet to discuss a proposal for Nicholsonova’s dismissal, said Glvac. However, it won’t hurry in view of Nicholsonova’s pregnancy. “As Nicholsonova is pregnant, she needs rest most of all now. We can’t behave like [OLaNO-NOVA chairman] Igor Matovic and must take this fact into consideration as well. Therefore, this proposal will be discussed by Parliament’s leadership, but we can include it on the agenda after her return [to Parliament],” said Glvac.

SNS also thinks that Nicholsonova’s behaviour should not remain unpunished, but it also pointed to her pregnancy. Parliamentary Chair Danko plans to meet Nicholsonova to discuss with her the whole situation. No date for the meeting has been set as yet.

Meanwhile, the Opposition is considering taking steps against Danko and Hrnciar. It criticises the blocking of sessions concerning Kalinak’s and Fico’s dismissal over the tax fraud scandal related to entrepreneur Ladislav Basternak. At the same time it wants the authenticity of Danko’s signature on the aforementioned document to be examined by experts, and so it’s turned to the Prosecutor-General’s Office. It hasn’t yet submitted any proposal for Danko’s or Hrnciar’s dismissal.

“We’re preparing no extraordinary parliamentary sessions during the summer,” Opposition SaS party representatives told TASR, adding that the decision stems from talks with OLaNO-NOVA. The two parties agreed on this in order to avoid diverting attention from the core of the problem, which, according to them, is the Basternak case. “This is closely related to top political officials, as Fico is still living in a flat owned by a person suspected of tax fraud [Basternak] and the interior minister [Kalinak] directly traded with him, which puts the whole process of the investigation into the Basternak case in doubt,” added the liberals.

Boris Kollar’s We Are Family party will consider further steps as well. However, it first wants to learn whether Danko’s signature was genuine or not. TASR also approached the other coalition parties – Siet and Most-Hid – in this connection, but they haven’t responded yet.