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MP not allowed to bring her baby to parliament

Rules do not allow for anyone else to come to parliament, except for MPs themselves.

Independent MP Simona Petrík (Source: TASR)

Independent MP Simona Petrík was not allowed to enter parliament with her five-month-old daughter on April 28. Petrík expressed her annoyance on Facebook, stating that she only wanted to stay for around 20 minutes to ask Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Ján Richter a question, while carrying her baby Zorka in a scarf, but she was not allowed onto the floor.

“Because apart from MPs, no one can enter a parliamentary session. Not even a five-month-old baby with her mother," said Petrík, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “It’s 2016. I was taken aback by the parliament’s employees, who clearly told me that babies are not welcome in this building.”

She went on that she was not surprised, as she did not find any baby changing table in the area as well.

“These ancient rules of procedure need to change,” Petrík wrote on her Facebook. “I’m on it.”

Parliamentary Vice-Chairman Béla Bugár of Most-Híd has not appreciated Petrík posting this on Facebook, however, he admitted that rules of procedure need to be more detailed in order to address this issue in the future.

Parliamentary Vice-Chair Lucia Nicholsonová of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), who is herself expecting a baby and plans to bring it with her to sessions, has personally apologised to Petrík. Nicholsonová stated that she wants mothers-legislators to be able to attend parliamentary sessions.

Parliament Office communication director Zuzana Čižmariková has confirmed that current version of the rules does not allow for anyone else to come to parliament, except for MPs themselves.

“Female legislators haven’t shown any interest in working at sessions with babies so far,” Čižmariková told TASR. “Parliament doesn’t prevent any changes, but such a request needs to be properly proposed before a panel and approved by all of its members, that is, by all leaders of parliamentary parties.”

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