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Speaker of parliament scraps SaS caucus

The parliamentary caucus of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), which after the departure of five members now has only six MPs, can no longer function and thus will be scrapped, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška announced on Tuesday, May 14. SaS thereby loses not only its caucus, but also its spots on individual committees; these will be taken by members of other caucuses.

The parliamentary caucus of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), which after the departure of five members now has only six MPs, can no longer function and thus will be scrapped, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška announced on Tuesday, May 14. SaS thereby loses not only its caucus, but also its spots on individual committees; these will be taken by members of other caucuses.

Paška also ordered SaS to post its final accounts. "Caucuses draw public finances for their running from parliament, and I've halted the drawing of funds from the budget of the [Parliamentary] Office [for SaS]," said Paška, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He also proposed amending the legislation, which currently states that at least eight MPs are necessary to set up a caucus, in order to make it clear whether or not a caucus should cease to exist after its number falls below eight.

Paška has exceeded his powers by scrapping the caucus, SaS leader Richard Sulík responded. "We've got analyses from three renowned lawyers who stated that Paška doesn't have the power to scrap a caucus when the number of its members drops below eight. This means that Paška is not acting in line with the law. Communists have always inclined to such moves; they've always believed that the law doesn't apply to them," Sulík said, as quoted by TASR. The SaS chairman also noted that none of the other opposition parties defended SaS at the session of leading representatives of parliamentary caucuses at which Paška announced the decision. This means that apart from SaS, no party represents any real opposition to the governing Smer party, Sulík added.

A group of MPs around unsuccessful party chairman candidate Jozef Kollár (Juraj Miškov, Daniel Krajcer, Juraj Droba and Martin Chren) announced their departure from SaS in mid-April. Kollár stressed that they would defend the same political values and that the only stumbling block was SaS chairman Richard Sulík's style of politics.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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