Members of parliament representing the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) split with other opposition groups and decided to support the ratification of the Lisbon EU Reform Treaty in a parliamentary vote on Thursday, April 10, according to a report by the SITA newswire. SMK Chairman Pál Csáky announced that 19 members of the SMK parliamentary caucus supported the decision. (The party’s one other MP, László Nagy, was not present for the decision as he is on a foreign trip.) Csáky, however, said that the SMK decision did not imply support for the ruling coalition.
The opposition Social Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) had made their support for the treaty – which, being an international agreement, requires a three-fifths majority in parliament - conditional on revision of the Press Code. However, the ruling coalition’s version of the Code was passed by parliament on Wednesday, after the government had rejected all the opposition's amending proposals.
According to Csáky, the ratification could have dragged on until May - as SDKÚ leader Mikuláš Dzurinda has suggested - or even until summer, but that he didn’t think anything would change. However, Csáky thinks that the fight for freedom of expression to be enshrined in the Press Code was not futile. The SMK plans to prepare an amendment soon and is also considering whether to challenge the law in the Constitutional Court.
Csáky admitted that the reactions of SDKÚ-DS leader Mikulas Dzurinda and KDH head Pavol Hrušovský to his party’s decision were negative. However, he stressed that the SMK was still interested in opposition cooperation with both parties. He also stated that, in the past, cooperation among the opposition had witnessed disagreements. The SMK experienced difficult times when the territorial-administrative division of Slovakia was being changed and when the KDH quit the government. He also referred to varying opinions on Kosovo and the Beneš Decrees, but added that the opposition had handled all these without emotions running high. He said that at a coalition meeting six weeks ago he had hinted that his party might decide to support the Lisbon Treaty, adding that European organisations agreed with the step.
The ruling coalition had needed five opposition votes to in order to ratify the EU Reform Treaty. Following the SMK decision, ratification now seems assured. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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