Opposition OĽaNO-NOVA chairman, Igor Matovič announced on Monday, May 8, that he will stop attending parliamentary sessions after receiving death threats from an unknown man while walking his dog last week, the TASR newswire reported.
Allegedly, the unknown man told Matovič that if he did not abandon parliament by Monday, he would “find a train” for him - an obvious reference to the fate of František Gaulieder, former member of parliament for the now deceased Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) of Vladimír Mečiar. Gaulieder was killed under what remain unclear circumstances, by a train in late March.
Speaking at a press briefing in front of parliament on May 8, Matovič said he believes that Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) might be behind the death threats.
The OĽaNO-NOVA leader further stated that he wants to retain his mandate, despite being aware that he will be stripped of his salary for no-shows at parliamentary sessions.
The decision, with which he said he had not consulted with anyone upon, has according to him been motivated by his distaste for looking into Danko’s eyes, a man who he described as a psychopath in need of medical treatment.
Also, Matovič stated that by this move he is not betraying his voters, as he will continue to enter the parliamentary building as a “free person”.
Matovič then went on to complain that a hunt for him was unleashed in August 2015, with politicians in power disregarding tax and banking secrecy, the protection of health data and the right to privacy when it comes to him.
Apart from the aforementioned threats, Matovič allegedly, also recently received a letter containing live bullets. He believes that it was sent by a man from Revúca (Banská Bystrica Region) with links to Danko’s family.
“Maybe it wasn’t Danko [who’s been behind the death threats], but [Prime Minister Robert] Fico, [Deputy Speaker of Parliament Béla] Bugár, [Interior Minister Robert] Kaliňák or perhaps some other Mafia man in parliament or government, or possibly they arranged it together, but I feel that I’m no longer able to continue going to this purported hall of lawfulness, which should feature the nation’s elite,” added Matovič.
Danko provided a laconic reaction when approached by TASR after Matovič’s press briefing.
“This appearance doesn’t need any comments,” he wrote.
The Government Office’s press department stated that it isn’t able to react to Matovič’s decision to not show up to any more parliamentary sessions following death threats purportedly linked to Danko. The office justified this inability to react to Matovič by pointing out that it is not a mental hospital.
“It’s unbelievable that on a day when we’re commemorating our victory over fascism and paying tribute to our forefathers who were killed in the fight against fascism, this individual appears to annoy society with his theories,” wrote the Government Office’s press department.
Meanwhile, Matovič’s party colleague Veronika Remišová said that she understands his decision.
“Some figures from the governing coalition have been misusing the police for more than a year in order to utilise illegally acquired information to discredit and bully him,” said Remišová as cited by TASR.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Bugár (Most-Híd) in his reaction described Matovič’s decision as a rather “unusual” way of dealing with one’s mandate, with the move likely to cause some displeasure among opposition parties. At the same time Bugár recommended that Matovič turn to the police if he feels threatened, stressing that the latter should consider filing a criminal complaint to be his duty.
Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Juraj Droba later in the day said that Matovič has always stood on the right side of the barricade and he therefore trusts him.
“I might not agree with his ‘amusement park’ style of politics, but he’s been standing on the correct side of the barricade from the very beginning,” added Droba.