On February 10 opposition MPs – Jana Kiššová (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS) and Igor Matovič (OĽaNO-NOVA) – submitted a proposal to convene an extraordinary parliamentary session with a no-confidence motion in Fico (of the ruling Smer party). Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko (SNS) set the session for February 14 at 13:00. OĽaNO chairman Igor Matovič told the Sme daily that the proposal contains 42 signatures, from the proposing MPs' party members as well as from non-affiliated MP Zsolt Simon and other lawmakers from the opposition Sme Rodina / We Are Family party. “Among the democratic opposition, only fellow colleague [Miroslav] Beblavý (independent) chose not to sign,” Matovič commented. “We didn’t bother to give the offer to the undemocratic opposition [referring to the far-right ĽSNS party - ed. note].”
This will be already the second no-confidence vote in PM Robert Fico within eleven months of his current government.
Fico’s and opposition reactions
The prime minister had already made it known in advance that he would not attend the session. “I’m announcing in advance that neither I nor my colleagues will take part in this theatre, instead we’ll be engaging in work for the people,” the Government Office quoted Fico on February 9. “It’s immoral that the proposal for my dismissal has partly been presented by people who were responsible for the energy price hikes during the Iveta Radičová government [2010-12],” Fico added, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
The opposition is uncomfortable with the fact that the government is able to intervene when another body fails, such as in the case of independent energy regulatory authority ÚRSO, concerning hikes in energy prices as of January, he said on the discussion programme V Politike / In Politics) on the private news-only TV channel TA3 on February 12.
“It’s a mere spectacle and chaos, nothing else,” Fico said in the TV show, as cited by TASR. “We won't take part in this show; I’ve got too much other work to do to listen to such an abomination," said Fico, adding that it will be up to coalition MPs to decide whether they want to attend the session, although he himself does not expect this due to the opposition’s “nasty” behaviour.
The no-confidence motion in Fico will essentially be a public indictment in the name of more than a million households, said Matovic on the same TV show. “We willl read out publicly in the name of these people the real-life stories that they’ve written us,” said Matovič, adding that “if the prime minister wants to ignore the Constitution by not being present, and if he orders his MPs not to be present either, he’ll only show that he ignores these people”.
Although the opposition knows full well that it is not able to remove Fico in parliament by its own power, it has initiated a no-confidence motion in him in order to provide him with a chance to explain his actions concerning the hikes in energy charges as of January, said SaS MP Ľubomír Galko on the public TV channel RTVS’ show O 5 Minút 12 / Five Minutes to Twelve) on February 12.
The opposition’s demands presented last week also include the removal of Economy Minister Peter Žiga (of Smer), but Fico does not see a single reason to comply with this, TASR wrote.
13. Feb 2017 at 13:34 | Compiled by Spectator staff