Members of Slovakia’s parliament and a number of other top public officials will no longer enjoy protection from prosecution for minor offences as parliament passed a measure to scrap their immunity for misdemeanours on February 3, the TASR newswire reported.
The proposal had the support of 147 legislators present and was jointly advanced by the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd parties, members of the ruling coalition. An amendment proposed by MPAnna Vitteková from the opposition Smer party, was also passed. It restricts the immunity of the Slovak president, judges, the general prosecutor, lower level prosecutors and members of several state bodies, including the Slovak Information Service (SIS), the Police Corps, the Railway Police and the Justice and Prison Guards Department (ZVJS).
Just after passing the new law, the parties jockeyed to take credit for the initiative to scrap the MPs’ immunity for minor offences.
“The bill that all the other coalition parties undersigned was ours, and I’m glad we have managed to persuade the entire parliament,” said Ivan Štefanec of SDKÚ, adding that the party is making good on its election promises such as this one.
The chair of SaS, Richard Sulík, called the voting “an extraordinary day in the history of the Slovak parliament”.
“Obviously, everybody is going to try to usurp the credit for abolishing the immunity, but let me point out that it was SaS that initiated a referendum two years ago that featured a question on doing away with immunity from prosecution for misdemeanours,” Sulík said, as quoted by TASR.
The Speaker of Parliament, Pavol Hrušovský from KDH, called the voting a “triumph of the politics of reason”, saying that it marks the beginning of the “path towards the definitive abolition of immunity applicable to crimes”, TASR wrote.
Political scientists Miroslav Kusý and László Öllos said they believe the decision to scrap immunity for minor offences was partly influenced by the upcoming parliamentary elections and the recent mood of the public over the current political situation in Slovakia, as expressed by the Gorilla protests.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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6. Feb 2012 at 14:00