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Parliament to vote on new rules

MPs started their first session after the summer holidays, accompanied by guards of honour. They will discuss rules of procedure and no confidence in the prime minister.

Guard of honour in the parliament.(Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

The Slovak parliament convened on September 6 for its first session after the summer break. The most controversial item on the programme is the amendment to the rules of procedure, proposed by Parliament's Speaker Andrej Danko. The opposition MPs heavily criticised Danko's proposal and attempted to have it cancelled from the programme, but did not succeed. 

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.

Read also: Read also:Opposition rejects time limits

The parliamentarians will also deal with a set of tax laws and the draft anti-shell law authored by the Justice Ministry.

Apart from the 26 draft laws proposed by the government and 36 pieces drafted by MPs, the parliament will also return to the debate on a no-confidence vote in the prime minister. 

The no-confidence session was suspended in July, when Danko decided not to continue the debate, arguing also over the inappropriate clothing of opposition MP Igor Matovič, which also prompted him to amend the rules of procedure of the parliament. 

Read also: Read also:Session on recalling PM Fico postponed indefinitely

Opposition MP Daniel Lipšic proposed to move the no confidence vote higher up the order and make it the first thing the MPs should deal with, but his proposal was not successful. The vote is the last thing on the programme of the ongoing ninth session. 

Curiously, at the start of the session the guard of honour marched into the parliament, an initiative by Danko. For the moment this was just a test, but it is possible that the guards will become a permanent feature of the parliament. 

"I would like this place to be considered the heart of the national Council, a national altar," Danko told journalists as quoted by the SITA newswire. He went on to explain that Slovaks have not had their state very and their national consciousness needs to be built, and values like "national pride, respect to national minorities" need to be cultivated. 

At the end of the first day, between 18:00 and 19:00, the session was led by Deputy Parliament's Speaker Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, who gave birth to her third child only six days ago. Shortly before the baby was born, Danko and Ďuriš Nicholsonová had a sharp exchange of opinions about her post-pregnancy work in the parliament, whereby she accused the speaker of intimidating her when he asked her what was her planned work schedule was to be following the birth of the child.

Danko then put Ďuriš Nicholsonová on the schedule to lead the session the following day, the web portal for women Ženy v meste reported.

Ďuriš Nicholsonová, who accordin to the portal delivered her baby by Caesarean section, attended the session in order to not give Danko a reason to dismiss her from her post, she said. 

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