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Paška wants to abolish legislative immunity

SPEAKER of Parliament Pavol Paška said legislative immunity is needless and proposed its abolishment at a recent international conference, the TASR newswire wrote on September 25.

Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) chairman Vladimír Mečiar opposed his statements, arguing that legislative immunity is fundamental to parliamentary democracy.

Katarína Tóthová from the HZDS shared the opinion of her party boss. She said that MPs' immunity is important for the workings of parliament - an MP must not be afraid of prosecution based on convictions that may later prove untrue.

But Tóthová added that she is against MPs enjoying immunity from misdemeanours and she would "definitely give this up". She would only protect MPs from being prosecuted for driving violations during parliamentary sessions, because losing a driver's license could prevent an MP from attending parliamentary debates, she said.

Constitutional lawyer and former MP Ján Drgonec said that the current legislative immunity isn't particularly far-reaching.

"The immunity as arranged in the constitution - the real immunity, not the infamous brand of immunity that is publicly perceived - is quite different from what the media and some MPs claim," he said. "It's highly advantageous to create the impression that the immunity is broad and provides some privileges, but that is a lie."

Immunity from misdemeanours was ratified in 2006 and, according to Drgonec, it was a mistake that must be corrected.

Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports

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