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Parliament to discuss lifting MPs’ immunity for misdemeanours

The proposed abolition of MPs’ immunity from punishment for minor offences is likely to dominate the last session of parliament before the March parliamentary elections, the TASR newswire reported.

The proposed abolition of MPs’ immunity from punishment for minor offences is likely to dominate the last session of parliament before the March parliamentary elections, the TASR newswire reported.

The leader of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, Richard Sulík, said that scrapping MPs’ immunity for misdemeanours was originally a commitment of all the governing parties and so he expects that the legislation to achieve this will be passed.

“MPs have had the opportunity to scrap their immunity for 20 years, and for 20 years they have been talking about how they do not need it,” Sulík said, as quoted by TASR, adding that they have nevertheless failed to do so over those 20 years, despite occasional attempts.

Opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico said that his party would support the proposal to scrap MPs’ immunity for misdemeanours if the bill comes in what he called “a normal form”.

“If the folk-artistic creativity of some lawmakers manifests itself in the proposal, however, then we will reconsider our stance,” said Fico, as quoted by TASR, adding that the bill has only passed its first reading, so his party will wait to see what the amended proposal looks like.

Fico did not say whether or not he would support the bill as it currently stands.

The amendment to the law on prosecution for misdemeanours, which would deprive MPs of the immunity they currently enjoy, was submitted by the centre-right governing parties and passed at its first reading in May 2011. The second reading of the bill has since been repeatedly postponed due to the growing number of MPs’ comments on the bill.

During the parliamentary session on January 31 MPs passed an amendment to the traffic law and overrode a presidential veto to an amendment to the law on social services. As well as the immunity bill, parliament’s current programme also contains a proposal to abolish the amnesties granted by Vladimír Mečiar in 1998, and an amendment proposed by Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) MP Ľudovít Kaník to restrict benefits paid to non-working parents, the SITA newswire wrote.

Sources: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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