NEWS IN SHORT

An end to the SaS caucus – or not?

OPPOSITION party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), which recently saw five of its 11 MPs depart from its caucus, is no longer entitled to have its own caucus, according to Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška, who announced his decision to scrap the caucus on May 14.

OPPOSITION party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), which recently saw five of its 11 MPs depart from its caucus, is no longer entitled to have its own caucus, according to Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška, who announced his decision to scrap the caucus on May 14.

As a result, SaS should also lose its spots on parliamentary committees, which will be taken over by members of other parties, the TASR newswire reported.

“Caucuses draw public finances for their functioning from parliament, and I’ve halted the drawing of funds from the budget of the [Parliamentary] Office [for SaS],” said Paška, as quoted by TASR. He also proposed to amend the legislation, which currently states that at least eight MPs are necessary to establish a caucus, in order to make it clear whether or not a caucus should cease to exist after its number falls below eight. Paška argued that the governments of all neighbouring countries follow a similar rule.

SaS however does not agree with his interpretation and insists on keeping its caucus in parliament, saying that by eliminating the caucus, Paška has exceeded his powers.

“We’ve got analyses from three renowned lawyers who state that Paška does not have the power to scrap a caucus when its membership drops below eight,” SaS leader Richard 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.

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