NEWS IN SHORT

Government proposes curbs on MPs’ immunity

THE GOVERNMENT has proposed limiting Slovak MPs’ and judges’ immunity from prosecution. The move was agreed at a cabinet session on July 15 and, if passed, will mean that MPs’ immunity would be restricted only to statements and voting in parliament. Comparable rules would apply to judges, including those sitting in the Constitutional Court, and to the general prosecutor.

THE GOVERNMENT has proposed limiting Slovak MPs’ and judges’ immunity from prosecution. The move was agreed at a cabinet session on July 15 and, if passed, will mean that MPs’ immunity would be restricted only to statements and voting in parliament. Comparable rules would apply to judges, including those sitting in the Constitutional Court, and to the general prosecutor.

The changes, which the government wants to make effective as of November this year, will require a constitutional law, which can only be passed by a three-fifths majority of 90 out of the total 150 MPs. The ruling coalition, which currently controls 79 parliamentary seats, will therefore have to rely on opposition MPs to support the move.

Prime Minister Iveta Radičová said she believes she will persuade the opposition to support the draft law and is intending to meet the heads of the two opposition groups, Smer and the Slovak National Party (SNS), for talks on the matter, the TASR newswire reported.

However, the opposition has shown little enthusiasm for the proposed changes.

“Nobody ever discussed that topic with Smer,” said Silvia Glendová, spokesperson for the largest opposition party. “On top of that, how should we perceive this initiative when the speaker of parliament is telling the media that the opposition leader [i.e. Smer leader Robert Fico] belongs in prison?”

SNS deputy chairman Rudolf Pučík said his party would not support the initiative and called it “populism” and “theatre produced for the public”.

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