Despite criticism insinuating that it benefits from the situation, the party won the necessary support to adopt an amendment from the opposition, particularly the Most-Híd party, the Sme daily reported.
The constitutional amendment, which will enable the police to detain people suspected of terrorism and keep them behind bars for four days (unlike two days set by the current rules), was okayed by 95 MPs, while 25 were against it. The constitutional changes need to be supported by at least 90 deputies, which meant Smer needed the support of the opposition. The remaining support came not only from Most-Híd, but also from MPs Štefan Kuffa and Miroslav Kadúc, who were both members of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) movement.
According to the Speaker of Parliament Peter Pellegrini, the change is the first step towards boosting Slovakia’s security.
“It should contribute towards higher security for the state, as well as towards bolstering the tools of security forces if Slovakia happened to be in danger of a terrorist attack,” said Pellegrini, as quoted by TASR. He also expressed appreciation for the fact that several opposition MPs, most notably from Most-Híd, also “preferred Slovakia’s interests to their own” in voting for the amendment.
Pellegrini, on the other hand, criticised other opposition MPs for claiming that the anti-terrorist package will jeopardise people’s freedoms.
In return for its support of the constitutional change, Smer supported the amending proposal submitted by Lucia Žitňanská. She proposed not to change another 72-hour period set by law, within which the judge has to decide whether to take the suspect into custody or release him/her. Smer wanted to double the period to 144 hours, Sme wrote.
“We are doing things which we consider right and necessary, though they are not always popular,” said Most-Híd chair Béla Bugár, as quoted by Sme.
He added that they discussed the constitutional changes with experts and also followed foreign examples. Bugár however added they will not support other measures introduced as part of the so-called anti-terrorism package, as reported by Sme.
Other opposition MPs criticised Most-Híd’s support to Smer, hinting the possible cooperation of the two parties. They also claimed that the proposed anti-terrorism measures are needless.