THE SLOVAK parliament failed to re-adopt a Traffic Code which President Ivan Gašparovič vetoed and returned to lawmakers for review. Only 70 deputies in the 150-member parliament voted in favour of the Interior Ministry draft; 76 votes are necessary to override a presidential veto, the SITA newswire wrote.
Among other points, the president had objected to extraordinary one-off measures in the proposed new law which would have fast-tracked highway construction projects.
The Sme daily identified tensions within the ruling coalition as the reason for the vote’s failure.
Shortly before the ballot, there was a dispute between the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the rest of the ruling coalition.
Neither Smer nor the Slovak National Party (SNS) supported a resolution by HZDS Chairman Vladimír Mečiar calling on police to investigate Christian Democrat MP Daniel Lipšic for making public a transcript of a telephone conversation between the current justice minister, Štefan Harabin, and an alleged drug smuggler, Baki Sadiki. Mečiar claimed that the other coalition partners had promised him their support. After they failed to back his proposal, he labelled them ‘untrustworthy’.
When, a few minutes later, MPs were called to vote on the vetoed Traffic Code, Mečiar and five colleagues failed to cast their votes. Four Smer MPs and five MPs of the SNS were also absent. Some MPs believe this was Mečiar’s revenge for the failure of his Lipšic proposal. Mečiar claims that it was an accident and that he did not know that the vote was taking place.
Other measures in the new Traffic Code, which had been a legislative priority of Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák (Smer) and was to have taken effect on October 1, were intended to boost road safety and improve driver discipline, and thereby reduce traffic accidents.
15. Sep 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports