THE SLOVAK parliament approved the programme statement of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová’s government on August 10, following a week-long debate which was characterised by coalition and opposition MPs attacking each other more often than criticising the programme itself. In the end, all 79 MPs of the ruling coalition parties voted for the programme. They have a majority in the 150-member assembly and their vote represented the first vote of confidence by parliament in the new government.
Among the priorities outlined in the new government’s guiding document are the fight against corruption, reform of the education and justice systems, restoration of the Environment Ministry as an independent department, a rebalancing of payments into the social security insurance system, and consolidation of the public finances, the SITA newswire reported.
Justice, zero corruption, transparency and thriftiness represent the four legs of the desk at which the government intends to work over the next four years, Radičová said before parliamentary deputies approved the government’s programme. She added that it is impossible to fight against the negative effects of the economic crisis without high morals and better rules.
“We want to look for better rules and we will respect them, as this is the only way to restore people’s trust in politics,” she said, as quoted by SITA.
The government is now bound to design specific measures and a governmental legislative plan based on the programme statement passed by the parliament. According to Radičová, the plan should be ready by the end of September.
“Such measures will also feature the proposal of concrete steps within the framework of the approved programme statement for consolidating the public finances, boosting employment, addressing corruption, improving law enforcement and creating new jobs,” Radičová said, as quoted by SITA.
Parliament debates laws
The third session of the new parliament thus finished with parliament entrusting the new government to rule for the next four years. Immediately after the session ended on the afternoon of August 10 the fourth session of parliament began, the first in which actual legislative measures are being discussed.
The programme of the fourth session includes changes to the law on competencies intended to restore the Environment Ministry. The ministry was scrapped by the previous government and its responsibilities moved to the Agriculture Ministry. The measure should be debated by the parliament in a fast-track legislative procedure.
However, the highlight of the session is expected to be a debate on restrictions, proposed by the prime minister, to the immunity from prosecution of MPs and judges. Making changes to their immunity requires amendment of a constitutional law, which means that a qualified majority of at least 90 MPs must vote in favour of the changes. The coalition thus needs to win the support of at least 11 opposition MPs for it to pass the amendment. The opposition has so far expressed reluctance to support the new limits in the form they have been proposed.
11. Aug 2010 at 13:30 | Compiled by Michaela Stanková