Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška used recently-acquired new powers for the first time on February 12 to include a discussion over the changes to the law on public procurement into the programme of the ongoing parliamentary session. He did so after the government asked MPs to pass the amendment using a fast-tracked proceeding, the TASR newswire reported.
The opposition parties criticised the fast-tracked proceeding, saying that the ruling Smer party is abusing its powers and violating basic legislative rules. Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party leader Richard Sulík said there is no reason to accelerate discussion of the law. He asked Smer to explain who from among its members is interesting in passing the new rules earlier, the SITA newswire wrote.
Other opposition leaders, including Béla Bugár of Most-Híd and Pavol Frešo of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), said there was no reason to pass the amendment so quickly. Frešo added that there might be some pressure from lobbyists and financial groups that want the changes to become effective immediately, SITA reported.
Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák retorted that opposition representatives should cast their minds back to when “they were doing the same thing”.
“I was amused by the emotional performances of the opposition representatives about how we are misusing fast-tracked proceedings,” Kaliňák said, as quoted by TASR. “It is stated on parliament’s website that the first government of Robert Fico used this proceedings 26 times over four years, while the government of Iveta Radičová did the same 25 times in 18 months in power.”
The government stated at its February 11 session that the amendment would reduce the administrative burden in the process of public procurements. It is also supposed to lead to more effective and faster drawing of money from EU structural funds.
If parliament passes the changes, they will come into force on February 18, TASR 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.
13. Feb 2013 at 10:00