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Hlina blocks parliamentary proceedings for two hours, faces discipline

Just a day after attacking a fellow MP, independent Alojz Hlina blocked parliamentary proceedings for more than two hours on September 5 as part of a protest against Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, who refused to take his questions in person. Every time Hlina attempted to talk, Kaliňák stood up and left the chamber. Subsequently, in protest, Hlina stopped his speech and stood behind the speaker's dais in silence. At the end of that day's deliberations, slated for 19:00, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška terminated the session and thanked Hlina. The session is due to continue on September 12. The bone of contention stemmed from Hlina's demand to have the government member attend the session, citing the Rules of Procedure which state that cabinet members must be present to take questions. Smer MPs argued, however, that the Rules of Procedure don't specify the minister has to be present in the chamber, only in parliament. During his short visits to the chamber, Kaliňák informed Hlina that he will stay in the chamber only if Hlina apologises to Anton Martvoň (Smer MP) for physically attacking him and pushing him off his chair the day before. Hlina refused, subsequently, Kaliňák left. The day before, Martvoň alleged that Hlina made money from selling alcohol to minors in his pub, which made the latter to grab him and shake him, knocking Martvoň off his chair at the speaker’s dais. Hlina was supported by a number of opposition lawmakers who attempted to convince Smer MPs that Hlina was right and the government members are legally obliged to be present in the chamber to take questions.

Just a day after attacking a fellow MP, independent Alojz Hlina blocked parliamentary proceedings for more than two hours on September 5 as part of a protest against Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, who refused to take his questions in person.

Every time Hlina attempted to talk, Kaliňák stood up and left the chamber. Subsequently, in protest, Hlina stopped his speech and stood behind the speaker's dais in silence. At the end of that day's deliberations, slated for 19:00, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška terminated the session and thanked Hlina. The session is due to continue on September 12.

The bone of contention stemmed from Hlina's demand to have the government member attend the session, citing the Rules of Procedure which state that cabinet members must be present to take questions. Smer MPs argued, however, that the Rules of Procedure don't specify the minister has to be present in the chamber, only in parliament.

During his short visits to the chamber, Kaliňák informed Hlina that he will stay in the chamber only if Hlina apologises to Anton Martvoň (Smer MP) for physically attacking him and pushing him off his chair the day before. Hlina refused, subsequently, Kaliňák left. The day before, Martvoň alleged that Hlina made money from selling alcohol to minors in his pub, which made the latter to grab him and shake him, knocking Martvoň off his chair at the speaker’s dais.

Hlina was supported by a number of opposition lawmakers who attempted to convince Smer MPs that Hlina was right and the government members are legally obliged to be present in the chamber to take questions.

“Parliamentary Speaker [Pavol Paška] once again demonstrated his zero concern for the interests of the institution he's responsible for and a 100-percent sole concern for the interests of his party,” said independent MP and presidential candidate Radoslav Procházka, a quoted by the TASR newswire. “As a result, the state is in the shape it is.”

The parliamentary mandate and immunity committee launched disciplinary proceedings against Hlina in connection with his attack on Martvoň. The committee is to meet September 6 on this issue. The result is not known yet, as it only adopted a resolution condemning such behaviour on the day of the attack. One member of the committee, Martin Poliačik of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), told TASR that the resolution also found that the Rules of Order have to be changed to effectively punish such attacks.

On September 5, members of the committee failed to find a way to deal with the issue, as the Rules of Order do not recognise physical attacks and thus Smer MP Miroslav Číž defined the issue as a state of legislative emergency, calling for wider debate and a new law.

Martvoň said, as quoted by TASR, that he will file a criminal complaint against Hlina, hesitating whether to define the earlier attack in parliament as attack on a public official or as a rioting – or both – which could be punished with several years prison sentence.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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