Slovakia’s parliament nearly witnessed a fist fight on September 9 as MPs Igor Matovič (SaS) and Robert Kaliňák (Smer) became embroiled in a heated verbal exchange during the ongoing parliamentary session, the TASR newswire wrote.
The exchange culminated after the microphones were turned off. But according to some sources, Matovič called Kaliňák an unseemly name. This had been preceded by Kaliňák's reproach that Matovič, who publishes a Slovakia-wide advertiser, failed to pay students for the paper's delivery. Hence Kaliňák called Matovič a thief. The legislators eventually went outside the halls of parliament to try to resolve the matter.
“The gentlemen differed in their views, this happens. No physical contact followed, the gentlemen still have something to say to each other,” said SaS leader and Speaker of Parliament Richard Sulík. Kaliňák's party colleague and former speaker Pavol Paška then urged Sulík to interrupt the session and call a MPs’ break.
Speaking to journalists afterwards, Matovič admitted that he had indeed referred to Kaliňák by the derogatory expression. He said the argument was kicked off with him saying that if there is proof about the authenticity of a recently-disclosed voice recording that allegedly features former prime minister and current Smer chairman Robert Fico talking about using tens of millions of crowns in Smer's election campaign outside the party's official accounting, then Fico should go to jail.
Kaliňák then retorted by calling Matovic a "smuggler" and "thief", which prompted Matovič to refer to Kaliňák in a derogatory manner. Matovič dismissed allegations that he had failed to pay students for distribution of his advertising circular.
Subsequently a vote on a constitutional amendment concerning curtailing MPs' and judges' immunity from prosecution, which is currently under discussion at the ongoing parliamentary session, was put off until Friday. Matovič later made an apology to Kaliňák.
Members of the Smer parliamentary caucus then decided that they will no longer attend the ongoing parliamentary session. According to Smer chairman Robert Fico, the move comes as a protest against the "circus" that Sulík has allowed parliament to become. He said Smer MPs will be present in the parliament's premises for the rest of the session but will not sit in the chamber.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
10. Sep 2010 at 10:00