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Parliament stumbles over rules

MPs met at a political gremium session on August 31 to discuss his proposal, but parted in discord.

Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko(Source: SITA)

Parliament Speaker Andrej Danko is trying to reduce MPs’ rights, according to opposition lawmakers responding to proposed changes in the parliamentary rules of procedure. Danko dismissed their concerns by saying that Slovakia is coping with “adolescent illnesses” of democracy that make the changes necessary.

Danko first floated plans to change parliamentary rules a few months ago following a failed no-confidence vote in the interior minister. MPs met at a political gremium session on August 31 to discuss his proposal, but parted in discord.

“As speaker of parliament I have exhausted all possibilities,” Danko said, as quoted by the Sme daily.

The opposition considers the proposed changes undemocratic, particularly the lack of proportionality in the speaking times allowed to cabinet members and to MPs. While MPs would only be able to speak for 20 to 30 minutes, there would be no limits for cabinet ministers.

Under the new rules, banners and leaflets would be banned from parliament. MPs would also be prevented from bringing their phones into the chamber and they would not be allowed to take pictures or videos.

Following the August 31 meeting, Danko also clashed with deputy speaker Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, who accused him of intimidating her by requesting a written statement on how she was planning to combine her work with the care of her child. Danko rejected her accusations and insisted his inquiry had been polite.

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