Slovak MPs will retain their immunity from criminal prosecution, after only 75 MPs voted in favour of a constitutional amendment to restrict the immunity of MPs and judges at a parliamentary session held on Tuesday, October 26.
A three-fifths majority of at least 90 votes (out of a total of 150) would have been required to change the constitution, but since the ruling coalition commands the votes of only 79 MPs, support from at least 11 opposition deputies was required to pass the amendment, which would have restricted MPs' immunity solely to statements made in parliament, and judges' immunity solely to statements and rulings made in court.
All the ruling coalition MPs present in parliament – representing the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Most-Híd, and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) – along with Anna Belousovová and Rudolf Pučík of the opposition Slovak National Party (SNS), voted in favour of the proposal.
The remaining SNS deputies and almost all the MPs from Smer, the largest opposition party, voted against the proposal; Smer lawmaker Igor Federič abstained.
Smer vice-chair Pavol Paška said that no one goes into politics with a view to using their immunity to break the law intentionally and escape punishment.
Prime Minister Iveta Radičová (SDKÚ) had earlier said that apart from the constitutional amendment in question, another amending proposal would be submitted to remove MPs' immunity for misdemeanours. The support of opposition MPs would not be required for such a change, but no such proposal has so far been submitted.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
27. Oct 2010 at 10:00