An extraordinary parliamentary session initiated by the opposition to discuss its anti-crisis proposals opened on Tuesday, March 10, but closed almost immediately after the coalition voted against the agenda.
The extraordinary session was originally scheduled for Thursday, March 6, but failed to take place after a boycott by the governing coalition parties meant parliament lacked a quorum, the TASR newswire wrote. As a result, Speaker Pavol Paška (Smer) rescheduled the debate for Tuesday.
Three opposition parties – the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH) and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) – initiated the session because they consider the Government's steps aimed at tackling the crisis to be insufficient. The opposition has proposed lowering the flat-tax rate from 19 percent to 16 percent, cutting payroll deductions, making the Labour Code more flexible, making public procurement more transparent and restructuring the public service.
Prime Minister Robert Fico on March 4 described the opposition’s attempt to have its resolutions approved by Parliament at an extraordinary session as ‘stupid’. “It has never happened and it’s really egregious nonsense that the opposition wants to order parliament to oblige the government to submit the opposition’s proposals in a fast-tracked proceeding and even approve them,” he said.
KDH leader Pavol Hrušovský responded that, by refusing to debate the proposals, the governing coalition had shown disrespect for the segment of Slovak society whose interests are represented in parliament by opposition parties. “If this tendency continues, I'm worried about the development of democracy in Slovakia,” Hrušovský said, adding: “Never in the history of the Slovak Parliament have I encountered this kind of scorn, arrogance and disrespect for others’ opinions.” TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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11. Mar 2009 at 10:00